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.
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:
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.