Expert Sunscreen Advice
Jane Iredale on Sunscreens
Sunscreen became a heated topic among manufacturers and consumers alike ever since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun issuing stricter policies on sunscreen marketing and labeling. We know the new measures are meant to better protect ourselves from skin cancer and early skin aging; but for some people, the new guidelines brought more confusion than enlightenment. To help shed light on this matter, Jane Iredale herself sat down with us and answered all our questions about these new sunscreen policies.
DS: As a manufacturer of makeup products that contain sun protection, do you agree with the new FDA sunscreen policies? How necessary are these new measures?
JI: I agree that we need more attention paid to UVA protection. This is the longer ray that penetrates the dermis and damages collagen and elastin. It also contributes to the risk of skin cancer. Up until now, there has been no way of knowing whether a sunscreen contains UVA protection. The SPF rating only refers to the UVB ray, the shorter ray that is responsible for sun burn. Look for the new “Broad Spectrum” designation, which indicates that the sunscreen has certain protection from UVB and UVA rays.
Unfortunately, in my view, the FDA did not go far enough. I would have welcomed a rating system for UVA protection such as the one used in Japan: PA+ (low), PA++ (medium), PA+++ (high). PA stands for protection grade of UVA. Under the new rule, the US consumer will now know if her sunscreen protects from UVB and UVA rays, but she will have no idea how high the UVA protection is.
DS: How did these new policies affect jane iredale products? What are the steps that the jane iredale brand undertook to incorporate these changes?
JI: Our sunscreens already have strong UVB and UVA protection, so having to satisfy the new “Broad Spectrum” requirement has not been difficult. However, we had to get all our sunscreens tested pursuant to the new requirements and we are gradually incorporating changes to our packaging to reflect the new language and drug facts panel that is now required.
DS: Aside from looking for “Broad Spectrum” on the label, what else do consumers need to watch out for when buying and using sunscreens?
JI: The deadline for compliance with the new measures has been extended to December 17, so consumers won’t be seeing all the packaging changes until then. Aside from the “Broad Spectrum” designation, they need to look for an SPF 15 or higher to help protect their skin against sunburn, early skin aging, and skin cancer.
DS: There had been questions regarding the effectiveness of sunscreen products that don't come in the form of oils, creams and lotions. How effective are sunscreen products in powder form?
JI: The effectiveness of powder sunscreens has never been in question. They go through the same tests as oils, creams and lotions and always pass easily. We have no doubt that powders and sprays will be included in the new monograph which has not yet been finalized.
DS: What about the SPF feature in makeup products?
JI: Sunscreen protection always depends on how it is applied. All sunscreens go through stringent laboratory tests, and our sunscreens are also tested for water resistance. The SPF on the label is accurate. What is haphazard is the dosage the consumer applies and reapplies. I believe that sunscreens in makeup are very efficient, much more so than sunscreens that are applied under makeup and are, therefore, difficult to reapply. It’s so much easier to add another layer of powder.
DS: The new FDA rules would require products to undergo a battery of tests at the cost of the manufacturer, how will this affect the cost of products with SPF?
JI: Sunscreen products have always had to go through a battery of tests. The old tests required 20 human subjects. The new rule requires 10. We have always complied explicitly with those tests, so I don’t see the cost of our products changing.
DS: What advice would you give to the avid users of jane iredale products to lessen their risk of skin cancer and early skin aging?
JI: Always use sun protection. The sun is responsible for 80% of the signs of aging. Never bake in the sun. It doesn’t matter how good your sunscreen is—no product can protect you 100% from the damaging UVB and UVA rays. Almost all of our products with sunscreen provide UVA medium protection. Powder-Me SPF SPF 30 Dry Sunscreen provides a UVA high protection, so we really do think that we have you covered. Be diligent though and take charge of your own skin. Make sure you apply enough and reapply if you’ve been sweating or swimming. If I know I’m going to be severely exposed, I apply Dream Tint SPF 15 Moisture Tint first and then my PurePressed Base SPF 20 on top. I’ve never burned on my face.
Article posted 6/28/2012.