When I was in India, I came across a brand of cosmetics that claimed to be chock full of natural ingredients. Intrigued, I perused some of the offerings for their body care line and saw a sunscreen lotion. Like I usually do, I turned the bottle over and scanned the ingredients list. Would you believe it, there wasn’t a single UV-fighting ingredient in the lotion – no titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzene to be found. The bottle should have actually been labelled “Melanoma in a Bottle” for giving its users a false sense of security that they were protected against the sun. Can you imagine slathering this on before spending a day at the beach and returning home looking like a cooked lobster? I don’t think so. Interestingly, the lotion also lacked an SPF rating and the directions stated that, if you wanted, you could even put the lotion on at bedtime! (Oh yes, the sun that shines in India is so potent that you need a sunscreen lotion even whilst you sleep!)
As it happens, rules and regulations outside of Europe and North America (and especially in India, it seems) leave much to be desired. I’m not saying that one should stay away from all foreign lotions and potions; I’m simply saying that one should always always read the label before purchasing anything and know what to look for.