Do You Have Questions About Sunscreens?

It’s always that time of year, however, it’s the summer when you find more people enjoying the great outdoors. Families are on vacation, and the lake, beach and pool can be in abundance with people taking in a little Vitamin D. Sunscreen is a must, even if you are only in the sun for a brief period of time.

Are you concerned about Vitamin A in your sunscreen? Do you understand what the SPF numbers mean? How are sunscreen products regulated in the US? Are sunscreen products labeled as a cosmetic or a drug?

What are your questions about sunscreens? Please post your questions in the comment box below.


  • Lise M Andersen

    I’m hearing rumblings about octocrylene as being unsafe. Are chemical sunblocks tried and tested enough to where we can feel confident about using them? Also, why would anyone want to replace a perfectly functional mechanical sunblock like titanium dioxide with octocrylene? What would be the advantages? Seriously looking forward to your input on this one!!

  • Anonymous

    I would love to know more about the spf factor and the new labeling of PA+++ which has been started these days…what does that exactly say or do??? Also, I would love to know the how much of the sunscreen should be exactly applied for complete protection and does it really need application after every two hours or four hours….also how safe is the helioplex formula which is patented by Neutrogena (in case you can give an information about it)…difference between the compositions of sunscreens and sunblocks and why does a product labelled sunblock ask you to apply it 15-30 minutes before going into sun if it just protects by deflecting the sun’s rays…are the sunblocks come under physical or chemical sunscreen categories…which is the best sunscreen agent and which ingredients are safe coz avobenzone and oxybenzone have been thrashed out for creating free radicals inside the body…does a sunscreen really create free radicals inside the body???

  • Mari

    I heard from a MUA friend that the only country in which the sunscreen market is adequately regulated is Australia.  Apparently even in Europe, while not allowing/allowing more up-to-date ingredients than the US, the actual testing done isn’t as rigorous as one would like.  Is this true?

    And the sunscreen database from Skin Deep.  Is that an acceptable list to buy from?

    • AmandaFoxon-Hill

      Being an Australian dweller who is involved in the industry I can say that the current test protocols that we have here are fantastic BUT they are under threat as the ‘world’ wants to form a global standard which looks good on the surface but may actually make products less good.  I think that the biggest problem with sunscreen legislation is that people forget that the sun doesn’t stop at the point we cut it off. PLUS humans have evolved to deal with the full spectrum, not just a conveniently measurable section of it. I could rant for hours on that one.

      Is the Skin Deep database a good list. NO. 

  • AmandaFoxon-Hill

    Sunscreens are complex things both in the way that they are formulated and regulated. The USA regs are not something that I am on top of so I will stick to some science based comments and thoughts.
    Helioplex is a patented blend of chemical sunscreen actives that have been combined in such a way as to give really good UV performance and stability. One of the big problems with the original UVA filter, Avobenzone (Parsol 1789) was that it wasn’t particularly light stable. That seems odd when you think that a sunscreen should protect from the sun but it was true. However, formulators found ways of blending sunscreen actives to bolster Avobenzones performance and the first round of patents were applied for (L’Oreal held quite a few).  A bit later still the makers of Avobenzone launched Octocrylene which  is a chemical designed to stabilise Avobenzone and enable others to use the chemical sun filters without breaching patents.  This performed well and has been a staple of sunscreens ever since.  The Helioplex technology sort of builds on this really, using nothing particularly new but combining it in an efficient way. Is it good?  As it passes the SPF testing protocol it is good.  Is it better than anything else? No.  There are newer and stable UVA filters now which don’t need protecting such as the technology that now belongs to BASF (via Ciba) and their newer UVA filter.
    As I started writing this last night and then my computer crashed I’ll re-check the stream of comments and post after I’ve checked out the rest. Thanks

  • Maha

    I need to know what are the best suncreens to use because I am lost honestly. Some sites say that there are specific suncreens which are effective and the rest are useless. Woud anyone guide me please how to choose a sunscreen. EGW says that there are spesific suncreens we we should use. And your site which I saw it by chance says that EGW is not that trustworthy site. SO whom do we believe please and would you tell me the best sunscreens which are really effective?

    Thanks for your help