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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Sunscreen 101: Understanding SPF, UVA, And UVB For Effective Sun Protection

Getting out in the sun without sunscreen is like having sweet drinks containing sugar when you already have diabetes. Yes! For a fact, the sun is the ultimate energy source for the planet Earth, making life bloom. But its harmful UV rays lead to several diseases, leaving a long-term impact. 

When you decide to buy sunscreen, the usual drill is to look at its SPF number and then continue with the type of protection it provides. You shall check on the ingredients offering protection from UVA and UVB rays of the sun. However, have you ever wondered what these specific terms like SPF, UVA and UVB stand for? If yes! You are at the right place. 

What Is SPF?

SPF (Sun protection factor) measures your protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. With an increasing SPF value, you experience more protection from sunburn and skin damage. The entire concept of SPF focuses on the time it takes for the rays to penetrate through the applied sunscreen and cause redness to the exposed skin area. 

With a cream offering SPF 15, you will experience a sunburn delay of 15 minutes after applying the product. In contrast, it takes much less time when sunscreen is not applied. The skin only takes 10 minutes to start getting red. Also, as per theory, a cream having an SPF of 30 will prevent your skin from the harmful effects of the Sun for 5 hours or 300 minutes.    

What Are UVA And UVB?

For starters, you can always proceed with the full form of UVA and UVB rays, along with the harmful effects they have in store. UVA – Long ultraviolet rays and UVB – Short ultraviolet rays penetrate the Ozone layer, causing premature ageing, sunburns and skin cancer. Moving on, here is a detailed explanation of how these rays together can affect you. 

They are equally strong throughout the year across all places.UVB light varies greatly based on the geographic location, season and time of the day. 
95% of the solar radiation penetrating the Ozone layer reaches the earth’s surface.  5-10% of solar radiation penetrates the Ozone layer, reaching down to the Earth’s surface
These long wavelengths cause long-term damage, inducing ROS and free radicals.These short wavelengths are responsible for immediate sunburns.

UVA: UVA rays are always intense throughout the daylight and can pass through the glass, reaching your skin while you are indoors. Moving on, these layers can penetrate deep into the skin, affecting your skin’s natural elastin and collagen fibres. Also, other effects include fine lines and wrinkles, skin thinning, irregular pigmentation and blotchiness. 

UVB: UVB are short wavelengths, showcasing immediate effect on the skin in the form of sunburns. However, UVB rays are restricted to the upper layer of your skin and fail to penetrate deep. 

Sunscreen An Effective Solution – Things To Consider While Buying 

You will always see sunscreen available in the market with different SPF numbers, claiming to help you against UVA and UVB rays. But are they all the same? Well no! Here is a list of features you must consider while buying one. 

  • The SPF protection number available on sunscreen is for UVB rays. So to get comprehensive protection from UVA and UVB rays, invest in Sunblocks with ‘broad spectrum’ labels. Select a Sunblock cream with SPF 30 or higher. 
  • Avoid ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals infused in the sunscreen protect from the Sun’s harmful UV rays but can be toxic towards your skin. 
  • For those with oily skin, choose water-based Sunblock creams. These are lightweight and will not cause your skin to break out.  
  • Avoid alcohol in your sunscreen when you are prone to allergies or suffering from rosacea
  • Choose a Sunblock cream suitable for your skin. Even if it ticks off all the boxes, offering the right type of protection but still not great on your skin, you can say no. 

Types Of Sunscreen

There are two types of Sunblock creams:

Mineral: Mineral Sunblock creams form a layer on the skin, deflecting the UV rays like tiny mirrors. Because they prevent the UV rays from penetrating deeper, you can use one mineral sunscreen against both UVB and UVA rays. 

Chemical: Chemical sunscreens get absorbed in the skin and settle in deep layers. These absorb the UV rays, change them into heat and then release them into the atmosphere. Chemical sunscreens take 20 minutes to come into effect and are usually not useful against UVA rays.  


Given the busy lifestyle and too much exposure to the Sun, sunscreen is an essential part of daily wear. So make sure not to leave your house without applying the same. Also, it is important to reapply the cream every 2 hours to experience its maximum effect. 

UMAR HASSANhttps://businesseshubs.com/
Umar Hassan is the Founder of businesseshubs.com. He writes a personal blog and creative digital marketer with 5+ years of experience. He is also SEO Analyst on Four Tech digital Lab. Follow him on Facebook, instagram

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