Motivated by promises of anti ageing by protecting the skin from the sun, many women choose a daily moisturiser cream with a sunscreen incorporated into the formula.
Many products display a SPF (sun protection factor) and make claims they will protect the skin from sun exposure, although there are no regulation guidelines for testing and labeling of UVA protection in skin care. Therefore, the degree of protection in these creams is unknown.
Consumers believe they are protected by applying a sunscreen moisturiser, but are unaware the SPF value does not reflect the entire UV spectrum.
UVB light rays are blocked by glass, such as windows, while UVA penetrates window glass.
Recently, scientists’ purchased 29 moisturising sunscreens, chosen from the most popular products sold on Amazon. They tested the active ingredients to determine the level of UVA protection that could be expected from the products.
Although all creams tested claimed to give broad-spectrum protection of UVB as well as UVA light, it was found that not one of the products offered sufficient long wave UVA protection.
The products varied in price from $3 to $65 an ounce; the most expensive was the least effective. The active ingredient avobenzone needs the chemical octocrylene to keep it stable and to prevent it from breaking down in sunlight, rendering it ineffective.
Of 16 of the products containing avobenzone, only 3 had sufficient octocrylene to maintain stability. When sunlight destabilizes avobenzone, it breaks down into unknown chemicals. According the Environmental Working Group’s ‘cosmetic safety data base’, this chemical has many safety data gaps; may be linked to cancer, may be linked to allergies and could damage DNA.
Six of the day creams contained no active ingredients at all for protection of UV-A1. Seven of the remaining 23 products contained zinc as the protecting ingredient. Only 3 had greater than 3% and researchers stated more than 5% was required to provide ‘adequate’ protection.
It appears many women are trusting products to protect them against sun damage without the knowledge that their choices are ineffective.
It pays to read the labels on the products you choose and maybe even do some research to ensure you are getting what you pay for.
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