UVA and UVB rays and what they mean…Part 1

We have all heard about UVA, UVB, Broad Spectrum, SPF, etc. protection when it comes to sunscreens.  So, let’s break it down quickly so you will always have an easy reference when looking for sun protection.

SPF: Sun Protection Factor.  You will often see SPF with a number after it.  SPF is designed to protect you from UVB rays.  No amount of SPF will protect you from all the UVB rays, just a percentage.  SPF 50 will protect you from approximately 97% of the UVB rays (provided you have appropriately applied the product)

Go for the highest amount of SPF that you can get your hands on, every percent counts.

UVA: Ultraviolet A.  When the sun’s rays hit the skin, UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays.  These are the rays that age the skin, cause wrinkles, and make us look old and leather purse like.  When purchasing a sunscreen, make sure that it specifies on the bottle protection from UVA rays.  In some European countries, you may see SPF50+, the plus sign indicates UVA protection.  Don’t buy any product that doesn’t protect you from UVA.

UVB: Ultraviolet B.  These rays don’t penetrate deeply into the skin, and they are the ones that cause the burns that we often see this time of year.  Damage from this type of exposure is easily noticeable.  Tanning is actual damage, burns are damage.

Zinc Oxide:  A mineral-based sunscreen.  This product works as a shield of armor from the sun.  It will not sink into the skin.  It reflects the light and the rays.  It is natural and nonirritating, however many mineral sunscreens are not makeup friendly.  They have reduced water resistance, sweat resistance, and easily smear.  This is also a product that gives a white-cast appearance to the skin.  Which is undesirable for people of color.

Titanium Dioxide:  This is the second option in the mineral-based sunscreen market.  Like Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide will reflect light rays to provide skin protection.  The two differences being that there is no white-cast when using Titanium Dioxide and that the level of protection is less than Zinc Oxide.

Oxybenzone: A chemical sunscreen that absorbs UVA and UVB rays.  This sunscreen component has been banned in Australia and Hawaii after links have shown that the use of this chemical causes damage to oceans and marine life.  There are studies currently assessing is this is a hazardous chemical to humans based on the fact that this chemical is absorbed into the body and thought to be a hormone disruptor.  That said, it is still considered an effective and widely available component of most sunscreens. This type of sunscreen will not cause white-cast and works well with makeup components.

Chemical Sunscreen:  This type of sunscreen works by absorbing all of the UV rays.  Like a sponge and then dissipating the rays by turning them into heat.

Mineral Sunscreen:  Deflects the UV rays away from the skin.

I will break down more components and what they mean so stay tuned.  Share us with your friends, click the subscribe button and please join the conversation. Either by commenting in the box below, connecting with us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter @everydaybeaut11.







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