UVA, UVB, SPF & Broad Spectrum: Your Guide to Summer Skincare

We are officially in the heat of the summer, and just like with winter, spring or fall, a transition in seasons calls for a transition in skincare as well. Summer months bring hot, sunny days, which are great for fun outdoor activities, but not so great for the skin. The two biggest threats to the skin posed by sun exposure are 1) premature aging, and 2) skin cancer. Both are unwanted and long-term issues that are best to be avoided, which is why it is extremely important to be diligent about adapting your skincare routine to accommodate weather changes in the summer.

When the skin is exposed to the sun, it is essentially being exposed to combination of UV rays. UVA, UVB, and UVC rays comprise that which hits the earth, but UVC rays are naturally deflected by the earth’s atmosphere. Thus, UVA & UVB rays are what hit the skin upon exposure. Both have different but harmful effects, so it is important to utilize protective sunscreen and clothing that fight against both.

UVA & UVB Rays Explained

UVA rays are long in wavelength and can deeply penetrate the skin through multiple layers. Over-exposure of UVA rays within the structure of the skin can lead to connective tissue damage, which is visible as premature or exacerbated aging. An easy way to remember what UVA rays do is to associate the A with AGING. UVA rays are notorious for leaving skin leathery, wrinkled, dry and crêpey.

UVB rays are shorter in wavelength and stronger than UVA rays, leaving most of their damaging effects on the surface of the skin. An easy way to remember what UVB rays do is to associate the B with BURN. UVB rays are notorious for leaving your skin hot, itchy and red with sunburn.

Although slightly different, both UVA & UVB rays contribute to premature signs of aging, structural damage, and potentially cancer. Repeated over-exposure to the sun without proper protection can affect skin replication—an unfortunately irreversible issue if not prevented or treated in time. When shopping for a sunscreen to prevent these damaging effects, look for something with high SPF and Broad Spectrum protection!

SPF & Broad Spectrum … What’s the difference?

 SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which is a measure of how well the sunscreen deflects UVB rays. SPF protection in sunscreens are usually a physical protectant, meaning they leave a film over the surface of the skin to protect from harmful UVB, burning rays. SPF is calculated based on how long it takes to sunburn skin that has been treated with sunscreen, as compared to skin that has not been treated with sunscreen. For example, a sunscreen with SPF 15 will allow the wearer to be in the sun approximately 15 times longer than if they were not wearing sunscreen before getting sunburnt. Yes, higher SPF is generally better for greater UVB protection, however, you have to also consider wear-time. It is recommended that sunscreen should be re-applied every hour to hour and a half. Regular wear, sweat or water exposure can lead sunscreen to wear away from the skin. So, to stay properly protected, it is recommended that you re-apply regularly. Thus, sunscreens with SPF of 30 or higher usually won’t do much to protect the skin longer, because re-application will be needed before then anyway.

Wait, so SPF only protects against UVB rays? What about those harmful UVA rays? Great question… that’s where Broad Spectrum comes into play!

Broad Spectrum protection is more chemical than physical. This aspect of sunscreen utilizes various ingredients and chemicals to form a protective barrier within the skin’s layers beneath the surface. This is what protects the skin from UVA (aging) damage. Many sunscreens on the market today do NOT provide Broad Spectrum protection, just SPF protection, which is not ideal! It’s extremely important to make sure the sunscreen you’re using provides both!

Looking for an effective Broad Spectrum sunscreen? We’ve got you covered!


Celloxylin® Step 5. Day Defense Plus, Broad Spectrum SPF 25

Protects against both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays • Lightweight, non-greasy formula • Smoothes fine lines and wrinkles while protecting skin

Broad spectrum, UVA and UVB protection is a given with this ultralight moisturizer that helps defend against daily exposure with SPF 25. The anti-aging Nutrient Reservoir ingredients deliver and wrap each cell with botanicals and elements that nourish and protect and defy aging throughout the day. This lightweight, non-greasy formula dries down quickly and is perfect for daily use, even under makeup.

Already have some damage? Peptides minimize the appearance of wrinkles while Acetyl Glucosamine, Hydroxyproline, and Hyaluronic Acid support skin health and structure.

 Celloxylin® works at the cellular level to reduce the visual signs of aging and proactively nourish and protect cells from oxidative stress.

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