We’ve talked about the many reasons why protecting your skin from the sun is important. However, we’ve never really discussed the finer details of SPF, UVB, and UVA.
Most of you out there understand that ultraviolet light (UV) can really impact your skin in a bad way. Things that often are related to these things are skin cancer, aging, damage to your DNA or cell structure, and more. Sunscreen plays a prominent role in playing defense against potential UV damage. Something many people do is apply more sunscreen with a higher SPF thinking they are protecting themselves far better than those wearing a lower SPF. It’s somewhat of a misconception that people aren’t educated on.
Everything You Must Know About UVA Protection And SPF
I’ll get into the details of all of this, but first, let me share some information on UVA, UVB, and UVC for those unfamiliar with it.
Did you know that UVA exposure causes you to age faster? It’s the truth and it’s a fact! Roughly 95% of the UV rays that humans are exposed to are UVA. If you didn’t know already, the A in UVA stands for aging. When you go to the beach in an attempt to get a tan, it’s the excessive exposure to UVA that causes your tan to form.
One thing that many people often forget is that UVA protection isn’t a major concern. Actually, it’s just not enough of a concern for the FDA to require that sunscreen ingredients include UVA protectants within formulas. UVA isn’t even rated here in the United States. I know, it sounds silly but it’s true.
If you’re looking to slow down the aging process, then UVA protection is an absolute must! If you’re looking to protect your skin against UVA exposure, then you need to use sunscreens that contain one of the following ingredients: Mexoryl SX, Avobenzone, and Zinc Oxide.
Now on to UVB talk! The UVB rays are those which cause your skin to burn. They are also the main reason why people get skin cancer. Not sure what the B stands for in UVB? It actually stands for “burning.”
The way UVB is measured is something that we’ve all seen at one point or another. It’s specifically rates based on something known as Sun Protection Factor aka SPF. It’s important for you to understand that SPF does not account for any level of UVA protection.
THemost important takeaway here is that you understand the levels of SPF and how it impacts your exposure to UVB rays.
Before getting into the ratings, I want you to understand how important it is for you to purchase sunscreen in the United States if you’re planning on traveling overseas to Europe. The reason for this is that U.S. standards are much higher than EU standards when it comes to sunscreen.
Now for the spectrum, using nothing at all on a naked body will provide 0% UVB protection. Sunscreen with SPF 2 in it contains 50% UVB protection, SPF 15 offers 93% UVB protection, SPF 30 offers 97% UVB, SPF 50 provides 98% and SPF 100, 99% respectively. (See chart below.)
What you need to know is that anything over SPF 60 can be somewhat misleading as it’s difficult to protect yourself 100% without avoiding the sun completely.
Last but not least, there is something known as UVC radiation which does exist but for the most part, the ozone absorbs all of this radiation before it reaches earth.
The takeaway here is to try and determine what level of UVA protection you’re getting from products you purchase with sunscreen ingredients in them.
This is about the time where I should tell you how crucial it is for you to wear sunscreen every single day. Whether you’re heading out to the golf course or you’re commuting to work. you need to wear sunscreen! Feel free to share this information with others and spread the word about UVA, UVB, and UVC.