This year, we’ve fielded lots of questions about the new UVA formulation and the fact that the SPF rating reduced from SPF 30 to SPF 20 as a result of the regulation. Our customers know that Lavera sunscreens were all natural, non-toxic and chemical free, but many were concerned if SPF 20 was enough to protect them from the sun. “I need a higher SPF product!” was the common request.

All the educational material available tell us the following:

  • SPF 20 protects against 95% of all UVB rays, where as SPF 30 protects against 97% - only 2% more.

  • The EU rules require UVA protection to be 1/3 of the SPF rating – so the SPF 20 provides SPF 6.7 against UVA

  • Most chemical sunscreens provide little to no protection against UVA

  • UVB rays are responsible for sunburn. UVA rays penetrate to the deeper layers of skin, and is a major factor in premature aging and skin cancer.

  • Zinc Oxide (used in the Lavera UVA sunscreens) provides the best mineral based protection against UVA

Our sunscreen—put to the test

But really, we wanted to see this in action so we conducted a test! We contacted an avid surfer here in Washington and had him try his regular sunscreen (SPF 50 or higher) against the Lavera Sunscreen Lotion SPF 20.

We knew that surfing was tough on sunscreens — was it tough enough to hold up to the seas, sweat and chafing of Pacific Northwest Surfing. Would our sunscreen not rub off, leaving skin exposed, from contact with wetsuits, boards and waves? Would it be a fair comparison to put SPF 20 up against SPF 50 — that’s 2.5 TIMES MORE SPF!!!

We eagerly awaited the results from the weekend. Monday we received the email and the pics – read for yourself!

“I spend my weekends in the outdoors. I surf at least once a week, and spend the rest of the weekend mountain biking, camping and hiking. Being from the Pacific NW (translation, pale white skin) I have to be extremely careful about sunburns on the odd day the sun comes out to play. Though I do wear a wetsuit for protection from the frigid water, my neck and face are exposed to bright sun which is intensified by reflections from the water.

sunburnOver the years it has really bothered me that I need to use chemical sunscreens. I long ago disposed of most chemical based products in my life for more organic / natural alternatives, but have stayed with chemical sunscreens as a necessary evil—because, lets face it, sunburns are very painful and dangerous, but still regularly get burned even with high performace (high SPF) commercial sunscreens.

A friend suggested I try out Lavera's Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 20 UVA OOB. I was hesitant at first—typically I go out surfing with nothing less than SPF 50, but my concerns were tempered by the realization European sunscreen ratings are quantified differently than by US standards of a bigger number is better.

My test day was a brilliantly sunny, cloudless, 85 degree Saturday. I went out for four hours, between 2PM and 6PM and came back with no burns—a better performance than my typical Banana Boat Sports Performance SPF 50 or my Coppertone Ultra Guard SPF 70. Though a little harder to rub in, the Lavera Sunscreen stays on in the water, providing a more effective, long-lasting and waterproof layer of protection—well suited for catching a few waves.“


To read more about the subject of SPF and UVA vs UVB protection, read Doesn’t my current sunscreen already protect me from UVA? and Understanding UV Rays.

To learn about the advantages of all natural mineral based sunscreens versus chemical based formulas, read Sunscreen Facts.

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