Sure we all know about SPF and that the higher the SPF is, the more sun protection we have?
Or so we thought….
There is a new rating system for your sunscreen and you need to be checking this out immediately because it may surprise you…
The UVA Star rating appears like this on the back of your product and ranges from 1 – 5.
I was really surprised to find that the Ambre Solaire SPF 50 product I use on my children only has 3 stars…
Why is this?
Here is the low-down according to the British Association of Dermatologists:
UVA star system
When you currently buy sunscreen containing UVA protection in the UK you may notice a UVA star rating on the packaging. The stars range from 0 to 5 and indicate the percentage of UVA radiation absorbed by the sunscreen in comparison to UVB, in other words the ratio between the level of protection afforded by the UVA protection and the UVB protection.
Be aware that if you choose a low SPF it may still have a high level of stars, not because it is providing lots of UVA protection, but because the ratio between the UVA and UVB protection is about the same.
That’s why it’s important to choose a high SPF as well as a high UVA protection (e.g. a high number of stars). Sunscreens that offer both UVA and UVB protection are sometimes called ‘broad spectrum’. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and a UVA rating of 4 or 5 stars is generally considered as a good standard of sun protection in addition to shade and clothing.
For example, my Ambre Solaire SPF 50 for very fair skin only has 3 stars but my Riemann P20 has an SPF of only 30 but has 5 stars – confusing?
Basically, we need to be checking not only the SPF but the star rating too…the higher they both are, the better -simple!
Bear in mind too that sunscreen has 12 months shelf- life and that you need to check your brand’s photostability (the resistance it has to being broken down by various factors).
Stay safe in the sun everyone.