Product was successfully added to your shopping cart.

Now the sun is out we have been receiving lots of questions about why our organic sunscreens don't have the UVA star rating system widely found on conventional sunscreen brands. There's no need to worry, these products do still protect against UVA rays and UVB too, but it's a complex area. Read on and we'll try to help make things clearer.

Learn more about Organic Sun Protection >>

It is important that sunscreens protect against both UVB and UVA radiation to give protection from the burning (UVB) & the cancer causing / ageing (UVA) rays. The cosmetics industry considers that the UVA protection of a product should be in relation to its SPF.  This means that that the level of UVA protection provided by a product is at least 1/3 ratio of its SPF.

The star rating system was created by Boots and is only licensed to brands that are stocked by Boots in exchange for a license fee and is therefore not something that the organic brands can take part in. That is why you don't see the stars on their packaging. There is a very telling article about this here.

The industry wide symbol for UVA protection in a sunscreen product is a small circle with the word UVA inside it.

We have obtained statements from our 3 main sunscreens brands regarding their UVA rating and these are as follows:

Learn more about Organic Sun Protection >>

Lovea: “The Lovea sunscreens have the highest possible rating for UVA protection.  This is because the UV screening ingredients are made up entirely of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both these ingredients offer the highest possible protection from UVA & UVB.”

Lavera: “Our UVA filter is a 1:3 ratio, so for every 3 UVB rays the sun product protects you from it will also protect you against 1 UVA ray.  There is also a UVA logo on the front of the sun product to show that it protects against UVA as well.”

Green People: “Our UVA protection is equivalent to 3 stars but unlike the conventional brands our products are packed with great ingredients and help sensitive skin. They are extremely well tolerated by eczema & allergy sufferers too.

  • Under testing our SPF30 sun lotions filtered out 81.6% of UVA rays and gave a UVA/UVB ratio in excess of 0.60 of the claimed SPF level which is the standard set in the EU Recommendations.

  • SPF15 filtered out 78.2% of UVA rays under testing. Because the SPF is lower, this still exceeded the 0.60 ratio and came in at 3-Star protection under the Boots system”

The advice in the media is to look for the highest SPF possible to protect ourselves and our families. But many people are surprised to find that an SPF50 does not in fact offer double the sun protection of an SPF25. The reality is that an SPF30 sunscreen already offers 97% protection against UVB rays, moving up to an SPF50 only offers 98% just 1% more. 

For some people wearing a high factor such as an SPF50 gives a false sense of security and tempts them to reapply less often and stay in the sun longer than is really sensible. Something they won’t do if they are wearing a lower SPF.

Staying out too long without reapplying seriously increases the risk of UVA sun damage because in order to achieve efficacy of the UVA protection the most important thing you can do is reapply frequently and liberally no matter how high the SPF factor.

We highly recommend the sunscreens we stock at So Organic and we use them on ourselves and our children. If you need any advice or help in choosing the right product please don’t hesitate to get in touch or call us on 020 8465 5600.


0 Comments | Posted in Beauty Eco Issues Eco Tourism Ingredients By So Organic Beauty Experts

Staring out the window to a small green garden abundant with life in the middle of Santa Cruz I wonder what it must be like to live in this cute flat for one. Six small birds to each seed house, two six foot tall, orange flowering aloe vera plants, hydrangeas, a meandering possum, a skunk on a jolly jaunt, a weeping willow look-alike tree and an array of other Californian greens I’m unfamiliar with, it’s a small garden of Eden amongst many, I suspect, in this part of the world. But there’s a few things in this Santa Cruzian flat that are a little out of the ordinary.

Look a little closer and you’ll notice low door knobs on all the cupboards and a bicycle-like contraption. Foster Andersen has been a quadriplegic for over 30 years. He had a motorcycle accident at age 17, suffering spinal cord injury that has left him temporarily bound to a wheelchair since. I write temporarily because Foster is no average person. You name it he's done it, from skydiving, bungee jumping out of a hot air balloon, canoeing, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, rock climbing... the list goes on.

What's so impressive is that he did it all after his accident, wheelchair bound... until he gets in that parachute of course. 15 years ago Foster started the not-for-profit organisation, Shared Adventures, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people living with disabilities. It's based on the belief that 'recreation, fun, challenge and access to the outdoors are an essential part of a healthy and fulfilling life'.  Foster trained as a computer graphic engineer however spends most of his time working on the events hosted by Shared Adventures. Day at the Beach and Day in the Sky are two of the annual highlights. In addition to the list of things Foster himself has done, the organisation offers a whole range of activities for people with disabilities including camping, horse riding, sailing, flying planes and plenty of social gatherings like the Halloween Dance Party, Frozen Yoghurt Sketch Circle and Bowling by the Boardwalk to get the local community involved. He's also the regular Santa Cruz'ian celebrity. Take one look at his office wall and you'll see articles that span the state, all featuring Foster's achievements from his early 20's until now. He is without a doubt one of the most inspirational people I've ever met and... if one can be so bold... one of those 'ideal' members of society that we would do well to follow his example by for living a full and giving life. For more information on Foster and Shared Adventures visit

It’s a fairly accurate assumption these days to say that most corners of the world have been touched by the eco effect. Whether you agree, disagree or choose to ignore what´s happening to our planet you´ve at least heard about it in some shape or form. Mexico is no different. The latest in eco developments is underway in the hotel resort paradise of Cancun.

Phase one of this beautiful 5 star resort is already complete so bookings are being snapped up before you can say ‘may I have an organic margarita por favour?’  Why? Well to begin with it is the epitome of luxury and in the location to boot situated 30 minutes drive from Cancun on a clear tranquil beach amongst jungle and ancient Mayan ruins.

I was lucky enough to take a tour of the first complete part of the resort the Hacienda Tres Rios and it lived up to all expectations.

As you enter the resort you are greeted by a beautiful light reception, with stylish Mexican décor and white baby grand piano. Being a 5 star hotel you can dine or receive room service 24/7. With twelve restaurants in total in the Hacienda alone you will not be stuck for choice. There is also a business theatre, patisserie, theatre, spa, gym (including top rate yoga classes) and equestrian and polo centre. The resort covers 150 acres of land. It has 18 rivers (filled with fish) in total with three main ones that snake around the resort and lead into the ocean. You can take a kayak or canoe out for the day and paddle around these beautiful rivers and also get a unique view of the resort. The forest has a number of exotic wildlife like the toucan, cougar, peacock, parrots, flamingos, deer and monkeys. The long-term vision of Tres Ríos includes a marina and yacht club, a convention centre, an equestrian centre, and a fully developed nature park. But how is it eco friendly? The buildings are quite discreet and are only up to three stories high. The rest rooms use ocean water cleaned by one of the local native plants that is able to extract naturally the salt from the water to clean it for usage. Thought the soil is too sandy to grow their own produce on site (explains why the coconuts are only small) the resort does buy local and their meat, I´m told, is organic. The resort is one of the only in Cancun that does not use plastic straws or cups which are excessively used in the hotel filled region.

The ecology mission of Tres Ríos is “to be the leading model for sustainable luxury tourism in the Mexican Caribbean, to guarantee the enduring, intelligent and responsible use of the property’s jungle, mangrove, dune and marine ecosystems and to guarantee the long-term preservation of the ecosystems’ environmental functions, flora and fauna.” One of the wonderful things they´ve done for the region already is reforest 10,000m2 of mangrove, planting more than 50,000 mangrove trees of three varieties. The developers of this plush resort last year donated all of their profits for October to the second biggest killer in Mexico, Breast Cancer. I’m not sure if they advertised the slip slop slap sunscreen to their sunbathing guests but it’s a good start isn’t it? On arrival you can request at the concierge a tour of all the eco features of the resort so that you know exactly what your eco heart and green dollars are buying. For more information about the hotel visit

The things you learn in a hotel lobby can be quite educational – a mix of people from all over the world are collectively sure to have a wealth of information to share, particularly about eco issues in these eco conscious days. I’ve recently met a few such people interested in all things environmentally friendly, one being eco activist Pat from Canada. Pat started an electric bicycle company called Pedaless and also works with the Electrical Vehicle Council of Ottawa (EVCO). Pat was telling me how there have been studies done that prove electric bikes are more beneficial for the environment than your regular push bike when you look at the energy used of each. When you measure the amount of food fuel you require for a 1 hour ride (think of the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you) compared to the amount of electricity, which can be gained from renewable sources the electric bicycle comes out on top. Some of the other advantages of an electric bike include not needing to buy petrol any longer, you do not require a license or insurance to ride one, you can beat the traffic and those hefty parking fees, it produces zero emissions, it’s legal to ride one on the street and the bike path, and it´s much easier to ride up those steep hills (think of what a joy riding through Greenwich or Hampstead Health parks would be!). It’s also very cheap to run at about CAD$0.15/100Km. Pat also told me that he helped the EVCO push through a policy to allow electric bicycles to be ridden on the roads. Unfortunately the same has not been granted for home built electric cars yet but they are working on it. If you´re interested in finding out more information about the electric bicycle or want some inspiration to build your own visit or the EVCO visit Personally I prefer the sweaty exercise … and if I want to keep it as eco friendly as possible perhaps I should just not eat that piece of chocolate cake afterwards!

You´ll need a big eco heart to run this race… a 100km ultra-marathon set on the volcanic island of Ometepe in Nicaragua. This new running event is organized by eco warrior Josue Stephens to promote the eco-tourism projects on the island. With so many forest regions in this part of the world that have been taken advantage of by foreign investors building infrastructure to meet the demands of travellers wanting to experience a piece of untainted wild, places like Ometepe are being tainted beyond repair. But Stephens is having none of it – he´s making clear it´s all about prevention through education. The aim of the race (other than to exhaust the fearless runners who dare to attempt this great feat) is to raise awareness about how to ‘maintain trail, keep people from cutting too many trails, and prevent erosion’ says Stephens. They’re also planning to demonstrate proper waste management to the island’s municipalities. As far as the community of Omeltepe is concerned the locals will provide the resourced needed for the race including aid stations, safety guides, food, medical care and lodging. Traverse Trail Running, which Stephens co-founded, will be fundraising for the race to help buy running shoes for the local children who want to compete in the min version of the race – the Calzado para Ometepe 5km and 10km. For mid-range runners there’s also a 25km and 50km option and a 2-3 runners relay for the 100km. If you´re a runner of any level the race of Ometepe is a treat to experience. Set in the dense jungle forests of Nicaragua the challenge of climbing two volcanoes by foot is sure to be nothing short of spectacular. Stephens says that if it rains runners face trudging through mud and water up to their knees. They battle temperatures that range between 65-95 degrees F, bugs, roots and steep, single track accents and descents. It’s no wonder Stephens and locals want to keep this beautiful place safe. The race will also raise awareness about illegal poaching in the two volcanic national parks that the event is being held in. For more information visit