If you know me only as a nail polish junkie with a 1400+ collection of bottled beauties, then you will be probably shocked that I am more passionate about skincare … and always were. :D
I have been using sunscreen regularly for almost 20 years. As a sworn geek, I studied every little detail about the subject. But I am not held down by theory. Quite frankly, I put a lot into my own experience and those of my fellow SPF worshipers.
One of our pet peewees is the non-disclosure of UVA protection. Why in the world is that still not a legal obligation? UVA is just as important as UVB (SPF numerical label).
I personally want more than:
- UVA in a circle – EU way of telling us that UVA is 1/3 or more of UVB protection (SPF 50+ usually means SPF is around 60. 1/3 of that is the UVA-PF 20 which is decent UVA protection.).
- or an Asian PA + system that is also rudimentary
- and don’t even get me started on USA “broad spectrum“
I want NUMBERS not a cat in a bag. :P
A few of UVA freaks gathered joined me in the Slovenian Facebook group Ljubim kozmetiko and we compiled a list of known UVA numbers from official sources only – contacting manufacturers, listed on the packaging …
UVB vs UVA
Let’s pretend that UVC rays are all stoped by our ozone layer (they will be in 10+ years if we leave it alone to regenerate) so our focus is on UVA and UVB.
UVB rays are the ones that will let you know when you exceed your natural protection – skin turns red, blisters … we all know how that story can end.
UVA rays are more sneaky. Slowly but surely, they destroy your collagen, skin gets saggy, can cause skin cancer … Remember the famous truck driver photo? Glass stoped the majority of UVB rays. Still, UVA got through and visibly damaged the side closed to the side window.
If you have skin cancer in your family or deal with hyperpigmentation/melasma … then you should look into higher UVA protection.
Granted, nothing mentioned is only about UVA, but that is one of the specters you should at least research for yourself and see if you could benefit from it.
As someone with vitiligo, I need high UVA, UVB, and IR protection on the skin left with no protection whatsoever.
Why hide UVA height?
I was a contact for a few of the largest companies for the list we made, and I have to tell you … they added quite a few gray hairs to my collection.
Slovenian PR girls did their best and definitively earned my respect with their efforts, but the amount of #beep manufacturers tried to serve me … astounding.
Let me give you a couple of examples:
- “We do not measure the height of UVA protection.”
Are you joking with me? You clearly state that UVA is a third of your UVB protection. So how in the world did you manage to get the number to divide it with if you never measured the UVA?
- “We don’t wish to test on test subjects, which is why we do not measure PPD. Laboratory (in vitro) tests only for us.”
But my dear, UVB IS tested on human skin. Only last year did the EU pass the first in vitro standard for UVB measuring … which is jet to be implemented.
Bottom line – I really do not care if they share UVA-PF or PPD … for the average user, they are so close together that we don’t even see the difference.
I have to admit I don’t really see the point in hiding numbers of UVA protection. I know I won’t give up my loved mineral sunscreens even if they rarely exceed UVA-PF of 20. They give me so much on other levels that there is no option of trading them for usually sticky and barely wearable formulas. I choose them carefully – make sure infrared protection is there for the warmest months …
But it’s my choice to decide that I will opt for P20 on my hands to protect the vitiligo-damaged hands and Australian Gold Botanicals for my face. My choice to decide if UVA-PF 20 is enough … a choice is all I want.
Top 8 sunscreens with a very high UVA
Photo Brand Product SPF UVA EUR ml Mesoestetic Mesoprotech Melan 130+ Pigment Control 131 67 52,9 50 Uriage Bariesun XP Cream SPF 50+ 50+ 65 (PPD) 16,90 40 P20 Suncare For Kids SPF 50+ 50+ 53 12,6 100 Rilastil AK-Repair MD 100+ 131 53 24,9 50 La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Fluid SPF 50+ 50+ 46 (PPD) 17,26 50 Rilastil Sun System Comfort Fluid SPF 50+ 50+ 46 17,79 50 Evy Technology Daily Defense 50 Mousse 50 40 27 75 Bioderma Photoderm KID Spray SPF 50+ 50+ 39 18,63 200
Rules of sun protection
- apply liberally means 2 mg on cm2 of skin. Anything less, and you are not getting SPF/PPD on a label.
- reapply – after 2 hours of wear time, protection is starting to weaken. Even if you have a type of skin that would guarantee you 8-hour protection with SPF 50 – you rub it off, sweat it away, filters degrade …
- don’t listen to those who skipped geography lessons … the closer you get to the equator, it is more important to protect yourself. A similar thing goes to altitude – the higher you go, the more sun protection you need.
- the waterproof label is a must for those of us that sweat a lot or those who spend lots of time in the water.
- The majority of sun protection creams come with a warning about not exposing it to too high of a temperature. I stick with temperatures below 25°C.
The same goes for direct sunlight.
- shake really well before use.