Thursday, February 21, 2008

SPF Rating.

When you’re looking for a mineral powder with sun protection, choose one that has an SPF rating on the label. If there is no SPF rating, the product has not been tested in an accredited laboratory. The FDA does not allow you to assume sun protection even though there may be titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in the formula. Much depends on the type, quantity and quality of minerals used and how they are blended.

All of our bases have an SPF 20 and have gone through the 20-subject testing required by the FDA. As you’ll have seen in my previous blog, an SPF rating only refers to the UVB ray; the ray that causes sunburn. It doesn’t indicate protection from the more damaging ray, UVA. However, we may be getting closer to the FDA approving the Japanese method for testing UVA protection. Then, we’ll have a symbol that we’ll be able to put on our labels and you will know to what degree your sunscreen helps protect you from UVA rays.

We’ve just brought out an all-over body powder called Powder-Me SPF which has an SPF 30. We also asked the lab to test for UVA under the Japanese method. We found that Powder-Me SPF was rated as “High.” So for now you will see this designation on our packaging: UVA/UVB Sunscreen, SPF 30.

Powder-Me SPF works as an all-over body protection for women, men and children. There are two colors. One is a translucent powder and the other gives the look of a golden tan. It was tested on one hundred women last summer to rave reviews. Let me know how you like it.

Of course, there’s always another side to every issue and this one has to do with vitamin D. The more we find out about this vitamin, the more important it appears to be. Since we get our largest does of vitamin D from the sun, is avoiding the sun good for us? But that’s the topic of another blog.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I have a healthVest™ which is an exercise harness that travels everywhere with me. It allows me to do resistance and aerobic training simultaneously – right in the heart of Shanghai if I want to. The resistance is provided by rubber tubing which I pull when I walk. If it’s nice out, I attach my dog’s lead to the belt and we walk together. Every once in a while, one of the tubes snaps and I have to replace it. I asked the inventor why the tubes snap more in the summer than the winter. His answer was ultraviolet light which degrades the tubing.

Oh, my! If UV can do that to rubber tubing what does it do to our skins? Now that’s a scary thought. Enter sunscreens! Unfortunately, no sunscreen can protect you from all the photons that bombard us daily, but some can do more than others. I’m amazed how much confusion there is around sunscreens these days. It’s something the FDA is working to unravel.

In its most simplistic form your SPF helps to protect you from UVB rays. These are short rays that enter the top layer of your skin and burn you. That is all the SPF protection is required to do.

There’s another more dangerous ray called UVA which is a longer ray and goes deeper into the skin. This is the ray that causes tanning – the body’s response to injury. In the industry we call UVB the burning ray and UVA the aging ray because it destroys the mattress of the skin the collagen and elastic layers. It also does a lot more than that, such as weakening your immune system. This is the ray tanning beds use. These beds are often referred to as time machines on fast forward!

It doesn’t matter how high the SPF rating is; it does not protect you from UVA rays. Presently, the FDA has not approved a method for testing UVA protection. Europe, Japan, Australia and some other countries have had established testing for years. The FDA now has the Japanese method under consideration to approve for the US. We’re hoping that something will happen this year on that.

In the meantime, the best you can do is to look for a “broad spectrum” designation which indicates some UVA protection but doesn’t tell you how much. Alternatively, you may see something like this: UVA/UVB Sunscreen, SPF 30 which also indicates UVA protection. You’ll see this designation on our latest product Powder-Me SPF.

To be continued………….

Friday, February 08, 2008

Green Team

We’ve recently instituted a Green Team at our company whose job it is to look to see how we can control the waste we generate and how we can lessen our carbon footprint. Amazing things have happened. First of all, when I asked for volunteers eight women immediately applied soon to be joined by another two. They have thrown themselves into this task with enthusiasm and creativity. We have one woman on the team who grew up without electricity, so she isn’t daunted by anything.

Secondly, we found that we could do simple things quickly that really make a difference. For example, we discovered that we were using 50 disposable cups a day. That’s 250 a week and that’s 13,000 a year! It makes me ashamed when I think of how long we’ve been doing this.

We’ve found a local company who for $6 a mug will make them with individual names printed on them. This means that the mugs will always find the right owner and we’ll know if anyone leaves dirty ones in the sink! (That won’t happen in our company, of course.)

Some of the most hazardous materials we use every day are cleaning products. (Ask anyone with chemical sensitivities.) We spoke to our cleaning company to find that it’s no more expensive to use environmentally friendly products, easier on his cleaning staff and certainly better for our collective health.

Little things do matter – just like the makeup you wear. We’re bombarded with so many toxic chemicals that it becomes more and more important to eliminate as many as possible. Your skin is the largest organ you have. It’s often called the body’s third lung or the third kidney. It takes things in and it lets things out all day long. In other words, it breathes. Make sure you know what you’re putting on your skin. Read the labels.