Some of you may have noticed that your favourite natural sunscreen brands like Lavera have changed their sun care packaging and SPF ratings. This is because a new sunscreen labelling regime is being phased in across the EU to give us clearer information on the sunscreen products we buy.
The first thing you should know about the SPF rating on your sunscreen tube is that it is only an indication of the level of protection against Ultraviolet B rays not Ultraviolet A. Both are harmful to your health: UVB radiation is what provokes sun burn and skin cancer, UVA is responsible for ageing, impacts the immune system and contributes to skin cancer. A good sunscreen should provide coverage against both.
Sunscreen packaging labels with ‘broad spectrum' and ‘contains UVA filters' on them have made it difficult for us to know whether a product also protects adequately against both UVA as well as UVB radiation.
A sun protection factor (SPF) is a score that measures the strength of the cream against UVB radiation not UVA. So in order to help consumers choose the sunscreen with the most truly broad protection the European Commission and Colipa (The European Cosmetics Association) have proposed that the level of UVA protection provided by a product is at least 1/3 ratio of its SPF. Manufacturers must show their products meet the SPF/UVAPF ratio by displaying UVA in a circle on their packaging.
This is why some of your favourite sunscreens appear to be unavailable. Lavera's Sun Neutral SPF40 Sun Cream has new packaging and new name to SPF20 Sun Cream
. The actual product formulations and ingredients are very similar - the difference being they also contain zinc oxide (highly effective product to block UV).