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Is red sandalwood an effective sunscreen?

Firoza asks…I often find producers of “herbal” or “ayurvedic” cosmetics selling sunscreens containing red sandalwood as the active ingredient. They rate these sunscreens as SPF 50 or higher. Does red sandalwood actually have any sun blocking properties?

The Beauty Brains respondSantalum_album_-_Köhler–s_Medizinal-Pflanzen-128

Red Sandalwood may have certain medicinal properties when applied topically (see link ) but it is not approved for use as a sunscreen. Any products using this as the “active” sunscreen ingredient would be illegal drugs in the U.S. (and several other countries.)

Red Sandalwood + Sunscreen

I did a quick check on this ingredient and found that it’s used in a brand called Biotique. I couldn’t find a complete ingredient list for this product but I did find this statement on a website selling the product:

“This nutrient-rich cream is blended with pure sandalwood, saffron, wheat germ, honey and bark of the arjun tree to keep skin soft, fair and moisturized. Protects skin with broad spectrum SPF 50 UVA/UVB sunscreen. Very water resistant, retains SPF after 80 minutes in the water.”

So, it looks like the product contains red sandalwood but actually protects skin using a broad spectrum SPF 50 UVA/UVB sunscreen. I think this is a classic case of the company implying that the product works because of the natural ingredient but it actually contains chemical sunscreens like most other products.

If anyone can find a complete list of ingredients for this, or similar, products let me know and I’ll review it to determine exactly what chemical is providing the sunscreen efficacy.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jessica May 15, 2015, 11:03 am

    Classic case of misleading marketing. Very disappointing to know the products I make get thrown around by marketing which slaps false claims on things, regardless of how much I tell them that .001% of an active will do nothing.

    • Randy Schueller May 15, 2015, 4:21 pm

      That’s a lazy way of marketing, Jessica, but a lot of companies do it! (In most cases it’s because they don’t have any differentiating technology to talk about.)

  • Eileen May 17, 2015, 9:43 am

    Ultimately it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to make sure that any claims made by the marketing agency or department are legit. If something fallacious or misleading is publicized, then it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to direct marketing to amend or pull the ad. It’s called over-sight.

  • Rezaul krim May 17, 2015, 11:15 pm

    I also know that red sandalwood is very helpful for me. so i like it. This tips is very helpful for us. thank for your good tips. i am very interested to use it. I also know that.

  • Sheena May 24, 2016, 7:40 am

    There is brand names just herbs . it also claims to have natural sunscreen in gel form with no actual chemical based sunscreen elements . can you please look into that

    • Randy Schueller May 24, 2016, 8:36 am

      Sunscreens are drugs. If the product you asked about doesn’t contain an approved sunscreen active ingredient then it’s an illegal, misbranded product.

  • Burly April 11, 2017, 8:49 am

    I am using Biotique´s Sandalwood Sunscreen and yes, it does prefent my sun allergy from coming up, protects me when I ride horseback, and does not sting my eyes…it keeps me from burning and I love the smell…sandalwood, but not too noticeable…in case this helps… 🙂