A few weeks ago I was running out of my favorite sunscreen of all time – Dior Diorsnow White Reveal UV Protection, so I logged on to Sephora website to re-order only to find out that the new packaging doesn't have the “PA+++” labeling on the tube anymore!
PA+++ indicates a protection grade to UVA rays (more plus means higher protection). My first thought was WHY?! Don't we need to protect our precious skin from UVA anymore? Because we all know how evil UVA rays are – they penetrate the skin much more deeply than UVB and they are the primary cause of premature aging and wrinkling! Not to mention sunburn and worse, skin cancers. I then logged on to Nordstrom website and I was glad to find out that they have the PA+++ version so I ordered it right away only to be let down when the package arrived. The actual product does NOT have the PA+++ labeling on the tube! But the photo of the product on Nordstrom does (they really need to fix this). Then I looked up eBay and I found one seller from Hong Kong who is selling this very same sunscreen in the same packaging but with the PA+++ labeling! I was relieved to have found it and I immediately ordered one right away (while questioning out loud if we are not living under the same Sun?).
Now I have both of them to compare side by side. I looked at the ingredients on both and found that they were exactly the same: Zinc Oxide 11.0%, Octinoxate 7.49%, and Titanium Dioxide 3.55%.
Waaa…? More confused now!
Then I did more research about this discrepancy. Turns out it was my lack of knowledge about sunscreen rating system. PA+++ is actually a Japanese rating system which hasn't been approved by the FDA in the States. In the States, we use a different term called “Broad Spectrum” or “Multi Spectrum” to indicate that UVA protection is provided.
So, in short, PA system is the same thing as Broad Spectrum! Whichever one you choose, you will be protected from UVA rays.
Now I have 2 of the same products sitting on my desk. :D
And if you are looking for a good sunscreen, I highly recommend this one! It's super fast-absorbing, does not leave any white cast or stickiness on the skin, does not interfere with makeup, and does not cause breakouts on my acne-prone skin. I've been using it for years and will continue to use it until they stop making it! :)