SPF, UVA, UVB: What do they mean and what’s the difference?

What is SPF?

Sunscreen is a popular theme around this time of the year (hey vacation squad), and SPF is commonly associated with it. SPF stands for sun protection factor which is how well the sunscreen protects the skin from UVB rays. 

Always go for a broad-spectrum sunscreen – one that protects the skin against both UVB radiation and deeper-penetrating UVA rays).That’s not to say that you’ll be free from sun damage completely as no SPF is 100% effective no matter how high. 

UV radiation can always get through to the skin. For best results use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and above. Our NEW broad-spectrum SPF 50+ Aloe Invisible Sunscreen protects the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays and prevents sun damage, premature skin ageing, and dark spots, while keeping skin hydrated, moisturised, and cool. 

UVA and UVB Explained 

Longwave UVA rays penetrate the ozone layer into the dermis causing long-term sun damage because they are equally intense during daylight hours all year round. You don’t need to spend time in direct sunlight to be negatively impacted by UVA rays – they go the extra mile to penetrate windows and reflect from surfaces onto the skin. UVA rays are a hidden threat because they don’t leave behind noticeable sunburn. 

UVB rays, on the other hand, cause sunburn. 5% to 10% of UV that reaches the earth is in the form of short-form UVB rays. UVB rays are responsible for sun damage affecting the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and causing skin cancers. 

2 Clear Differences between UVA and UVB

  1. UVB is filtered by the ozone layer while UVB isn’t.
  1. UVA causes long-term damage in the form of dark spots and premature ageing while UVB causes sun damage in the form of sunburn.

The Importance of Broad-spectrum Protection

The sun isn’t all that bad if we’re being fair. Our bodies need it to synthesise vitamin D, for instance. Our skin also has its needs which is where a 3-step beginner-friendly skincare routine consisting of a cleanser such as our NEW Green Tea Revitalising Cleanser, moisturiser, for instance our NEW Argan Hydrating Moisturiser, and sunscreen comes in. Our certified in-house esthetician, Joyce, Waiharo, shares her expertise on where to begin when building a skincare routine. Read more here

Pro tip – always do a patch test before completely incorporating a new skincare product into your routine.

Sunscreen must have an SPF factor for it to protect us from UVB rays. However, this doesn’t keep you safe from UVA rays which is why it’s important to get a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect you from both UVA and UVB radiation.

See? SPF, UVA AND UBA aren’t as complicated as they seem at first 🙂

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