As one of Australia's leading provider of natural skincare, health and wellbeing products, MooGoo, is sparking the conversation for greater transparency and testing of sunscreen products, calling for consumers to ask to be told more about what is in their products.
Recent reports of people receiving severe burns from sunscreens that passed testing by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has highlighted the need for reform. Under current regulations, only the "active" sunscreen ingredients and preservatives need to be disclosed by manufacturers.
The majority of the ingredients not disclosed to consumers are called "excipients" and these can include allergens. With more children affected by allergies, it is extremely important for parents to see exactly what ingredients they are putting on their child's skin.
Founder and Managing Director of MooGoo, Craig Jones, said sunscreen is an integral part of sun safety.
"Over two million adults received varying degrees of sunburn last year, and this shows the importance of using sunscreen in Australia," Mr Jones said.
"It is vitally important consumers do not lose trust in sunscreen and this can occur if there are unexplained reactions and a lack of transparency of what is in the products.
"From our point of view, consumers benefit if all sunscreen ingredients were shown without important potential allergens being hidden."
Consumers deserve to know what is in a sunscreen product in the same way they demand to know what is in their food or other types of skin care.
"We are not pointing the finger at anyone, only a reform of the labelling regulations so people can avoid ingredients they know they react to. Allergies can occur to all sorts of ingredients, both natural and synthetic," Mr Jones said.
"We believe Australia's quite basic SPF testing should be extended to a system similar to the European Union, requiring extra testing into the protection against UVA and UVB. "
MooGoo developed its own range of sunscreen, working closely with skincare and sun safety experts to create a highly effective product, which is zinc-based and made up of naturally-sourced ingredients.
One of the key differentiators with MooGoo's sunscreen is the level of testing it went through before being offered to sun smart consumers, which saw the product being tested against benchmarks across the globe, not only a simple SPF test.
To find out more about MooGoo, visit www.moogoo.com.au or www.facebook.com/moogooskincareaustralia
Question: Why does MooGoo have concerns about the quality of sunscreen testing and labeling in Australia?
Craig Jones: Labelling – there is a lack of ingredient transparency with only the 'actives' and preservatives being shown, with the majority of ingredients not being disclosed to the consumer (these are referred to as excipient ingredients). This is potentially dangerous for people with allergies or sensitive skin. The solution is simple. All ingredients of sunscreen should be listed in order of weight just as they are in other personal care products.
Question: How would you like the current standards for testing and labeling of sunscreen to be reformed?
Craig Jones: A more comprehensive 'real life conditions' testing of sunscreens before being approved, along with testing of products sampled from shop shelves to ensure they are maintaining their SPF once in production.
Question: What types of nasties are found in common sunscreen products?
Craig Jones: Everyone has their own opinion of what is a 'nasty' so that's a term we avoid. Potentially every ingredient, including natural ingredients, are allergens so consumers should know what is in the product. When I assisted the formulation of our sunscreen, we chose to not use UV filters, PEGS, Parabens, Phenoxyethanol and penetration enhancers such as Propylene Glycol and others.
Question: Can you tell us about the MooGoo sunscreen and its ingredients?
Craig Jones: We use only clear zinc as the active ingredient in our sunscreen. This ingredient is designed to sit on the surface of the skin and reflect UV light away. The alternative sunscreen actives are UV filters that penetrate the skin and absorb UV radiation.
Question: What testing does MooGoo do on their products?
Craig Jones: We do Australian SPF testing, EU Sunscreen testing and US Waterproof testing. Each batch of sunscreen goes through post production stability testing as well.
Question: Why is this testing so important to the MooGoo company?
Craig Jones: We feel the current minimum standard of SPF testing doesn't tell us enough about how well a sunscreen protects in real world use.
Question: Which of the MooGoo range is currently your favourite and why?
Craig Jones: It changes day to day. When anyone in my family has an eczema flare up, it's the Eczema Cream. In winter when its dry, it's the Full Cream Moisturizer. When we get an email from a person undergoing cancer treatment about how our cream may offer relief, it's the Udder Cream. I love them all as I was involved in choosing what ingredients we were going to use for that application.
Question: What's next for MooGoo?
Craig Jones: At MooGoo, we continually work on new products and try to encourage people to fully read ingredient labels rather than simply believe what is told through marketing. Claims such as 'dermatologically recommended', 'clinically tested' and others are not statements of a standard, but a marketing slogan. Our aim is always to educate people to read ingredients and research everything.
Interview by Brooke Hunter