We all know that going into the sun without protection can be harmful to our skin, but many of us don’t realise the importance of also protecting skin against the sun’s harmful UVA rays which are not necessarily stopped by a product with a high SPF alone. Here’s some expert advice to help.
The sun produces ultraviolet (UV) radiation and there are two types of UV rays we need to be concerned about: UVA and UVB.
UVA rays are the rays that reach us all year round even through window glass. They penetrate very deeply into the skin and cause long-term skin damage. This damage isn't always visible, but it can be permanent. UVA rays can reach us even on overcast days.
UVB rays don't penetrate as deeply into the skin but are the most powerful. These are mainly responsible for causing painful sunburns.
SPF and UVA star rating
Sun protection is labelled with SPF and frequently a UVA star rating. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and it relates to how well a sun cream protects against sunburn. A sun product’s UVA star rating indicates how well it protects against UVA rays relative to the UVB protection.*
When buying sun protection it’s important to choose products with an SPF of at least 30 and a 5-star UVA rating. These products will give you and your family the widest protection against the sun’s harmful rays across all UV wavelengths.
* The star rating is a measure of the absorbance of UVA relative to UVB. Other brands not displaying a star rating symbol may still offer high levels of UVA protection.