Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunscreens are evolving

The sun's UVA light is known to cause cancer and premature aging and can penetrate shade and glass. However, no rating system to measure UVA levels is internationally accepted. I read that the FDA is proposing new standards for "formulating, testing and labeling over-the-counter sunscreen" with both UVA and UVB protection. A combination of new tests and more comprehensive warnings about sun protection is being put forward by the FDA. This is good news. Currently in North America suncreens are rated by their SPF numbers. They only tell the UVB side of the story, not UVA. In Asia, sunscreens are rated with a SPF number and a PA rating using "+" signs, such as PA+, PA++, PA+++. PA+++ is the highest I've seen. More +'s are better naturally, but who knows how much UVA a sunscreen of PA+++ is blocking. I doubt it's 100% though. If we have a universal standard on UVB and UVA ratings, we'll be much more informed when we purchase our sunscreens, whereever you are, especially when you are vacationing in another continent. Before then, you can make sure your sunscreen has proper UVA protection by having one or a combination of these ingredients -- avobenzone, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or Mexoryl SX. So read the label carefully.

Although I'm still a faithful user of Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Lotion for Face & Body SPF 33 PA+++icon, I gotta share with you a few new favorite sunscreens of mine. I always get so excited when I find a state-of-the-art sunscreen.

Peter Thomas Roth Mini Ultra Lite Oil-Free Sunblock SPF 30 1 oz $8. It's really lightweight and not greasy at all, great for my overly active T-zone. You can still wear makeup over it. And it has vitamins A and E. I don't look at sunscreens that don't have some sort of anti-oxidants.

Clarins UV Plus SPF 40 1 oz $39. Another truly light-weight sunscreen, you can't feel it on your face! And it has white tea extract. I can skip my usual moisturizer when I wear this one.

Sephora Brand SuperStars - Super Shield Skin Saver SPF 30 4 oz $10, Sephora's really got a superstar on its hand. I picked this up last week and I've been loving it. It's also a moisturizer and sunscreen in one for me. I get a peace of mind when I know I'm wearing a quality sunscreen.

(Source: FASHION magazine November 2007 issue)

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