Dear Family; Summer is approaching (or here for some of us) and we all have concerns about sunscreen. I did a bit of research and have posted the information here for all of you. Hope it is helpful
Peace and Blessings
There are actually two kinds of UVA rays -- short and long waves. Avobenzone protects against long-wave rays. Several ingredients, including the commonly used oxybenzone, can only protect against short-wave UVA rays. Many sunscreens contain oxybenzone, but don't contain anything to protect against long-wave UVA. By including oxybenzone, companies are allowed to say their product protects against UVA, but unless it also contains avobenzone, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or Mexoryl SX, you are not protected against long-wave UVA rays. That's why skin-care experts say you should look for "broad spectrum" UVA and UVB protection.
The SPF (sunscreen protection factor) in sunscreen is frequently misunderstood; many people think that an SPF 30 offers double the protection of an SPF 15. However, reviewers say SPF 15 blocks 93% of rays, while SPF 30 blocks 97%. Experts say that SPF ratings higher than 30 don't offer any further UV protection, and let the same 3% of UV rays through as SPF 30 (a higher SPF means you may not have to reapply as often). Furthermore, SPF only applies to UVB rays. For that reason, it's just as important to look specifically for UVA protection.
In 2006, nine lawsuits were filed in California against the makers of five of the most popular brands of sunscreen in the U.S. -- Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat, Neutrogena and Bull Frog -- for misrepresenting product claims. These suits are mostly over terms that may make parents overconfident in sunscreen. Terms include 'waterproof', 'sweat-proof' and 'sunblock.' Sunscreens can more accurately be described as water- and sweat-resistant because they need to be reapplied after exercise or contact with water. The plaintiffs also suggest that these products should not be called "sunblocks," since no product can block all harmful ray
(*est. $8/3 ounces)
Sunscreen reviews say Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock is an excellent general-use sunscreen. It has avobenzone and oxybenzone for broad-spectrum protection against short- and long-wave UVA rays (the main culprit responsible for long-term skin damage). It also has Helioplex, which can help the active ingredients protect skin for up to five hours. Neutrogena claims this sunscreen will neither run into the eyes nor sweat or towel off. User reviews are generally positive. Keep in mind that although Neutrogena calls this product a "sunblock," no sunscreen can completely protect you from damaging rays. SPF 30 and 45 formulations contain antioxidants and are more lightweight, but the SPF 55 formula is recommended most often. (compare prices)
• No-Ad Sunblock Lotion Maximum SPF 45
(*est. $11/16 ounces)
No-Ad Sunblock offers similar (though not quite as long lasting) protection as Neutrogena for much less money. No-Ad SPF 45 contains avobenzone for protection against broad-spectrum UVA and UVB rays. It is labeled as "very water resistant," which means that it will maintain the indicated SPF for 80 minutes in the water, unless it is rubbed off. No-Ad also contains aloe, which is known to be soothing with antioxidant properties. It also contains fragrance, however, so No-Ad sunscreen may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin. (compare prices)
• Blue Lizard Suncream Sensitive SPF 30+
(*est. $9.50/5 ounces)
Best sunscreen for sensitive skin and babies. If you have sensitive skin or just want a chemical- and fragrance-free sunscreen, we found excellent reviews for Blue Lizard Sensitive. Instead of chemical sunscreens that could irritate sensitive skin, Blue Lizard Sensitive and the identical Blue Lizard Baby formulas contain zinc oxide (10%) and titanium dioxide (5%), which act as a physical barrier against broad-spectrum UVA and UVB rays. Blue Lizard Suncream is water-resistant. Because this sunscreen is thicker and creamier than others, it can take longer to apply. (compare prices)
• Neutrogena Active Breathable Sunblock
(*est. $10/4 ounces)
Sport-formula sunscreen. Neutrogena Active Breathable Sunblock is similar to Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, except that it contains more film-forming agents, making it more water- and sweat-resistant. Reviewers say that it is sheer and very lightweight, yet it stays on longer during exercise or swimming. This sunscreen also contains silica powder for absorbing oil and perspiration. User reviews rave that it provides a matte finish and some claim that their skin appears less oily with this sunscreen than it does without. It provides broad-spectrum protection with avobenzone and has an SPF of 45. (compare prices)
Reviews say that newer sunscreen ingredients are now better at blocking harmful UVA rays, but the product must contain avobenzone (also called Parsol 1789), titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or Mexoryl SX (or Tinosorb outside the U.S.), to fully protect. There are two different types of UV rays in sunlight: UVB light causes surface sunburn, while UVA light penetrates and causes deeper connective tissue damage -- even when the skin surface feels cool. UVA light is the culprit for premature aging and cell-level damage. With the number of sunscreens on the market, it's important to know which ones will protect you from both UVB and UVA rays.
Mexoryl SX is touted as the most effective UVA-blocking ingredient currently available. It has been used in Canada and Europe since 1993, and was approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. in July 2006. However, sunscreen products containing Mexoryl SX (a trademark of L'Oreal) have been slow to enter the U.S. market. Right now, only a handful of products, all made by L'Oreal-owned companies, are available containing Mexoryl in the U.S., and most of them are facial moisturizers with low SPF ratings. La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX (*est. $30 for 3.4 ounces), for example, is a facial moisturizer that contains Mexoryl SX. More widely available is Lancôme UV Expert 20 (*est. $35 for 3.4 ounces), a face and body lotion containing Mexoryl SX.
Reviewers claim that these products contain an ideal mix of ingredients for the best possible protection, but Paula Begoun, author of Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, is not as impressed. She agrees that products containing Mexoryl SX offer reliable UVA protection, but that the formulas currently available are very expensive and don't contain many other beneficial ingredients, such as antioxidants. Neither does she agree that Mexoryl SX offers the best possible protection. "Although Mexoryl SX is a good UVA sunscreen," she says, "it does not provide the highest level of UVA protection as claimed on the label. Lest we forget, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide can screen UVA rays well beyond their measurable threshold. So Mexoryl SX, while viable, is not intrinsically the best."
Helioplex is another advance in sun protection. Developed by Neutrogena, Helioplex boosts the UVA-blocking power of avobenzone. Neutrogena claims that this ingredient creates a longer-lasting sunscreen that does not have to be reapplied for five hours. Neutrogena claims that avobenzone begins to degrade after a couple of hours when additional boosting ingredients, such as napthalate (the key ingredient in Helioplex), are not present. Paula Begoun, however, disputes this claim, stating that there is substantial research showing that avobenzone can be stable without these additional ingredients. One study in particular shows that the effectiveness of avobenzone exposed to the sun for 72 hours (far past the recommended usage time) only decreased by 25 percent.