UVA, UVB, SPF : Suncreen Jargon Explained

UVA, UVB, SPF in your sunscreen.You have heard of them but knew nothing much about the terms. You’re not alone.  Based on a survey, most consumers are still confused with the sunscreen jargon.

UVA or Ultraviolet- A  is less likely to cause sunburn than UVB but it penetrates the skin more deeply. It is the culprit to wrinkles, leathery skin and sun spots.  UVB or Ultraviolet-B is responsible for tanning your skin. It is the main cause of skin cancer. Both UVA and UVB penetrate through windows, car shields,  and clothing. They are omnipresent even if the weather is cloudy.

SPF or Sun Protection Factor measures the length of time a product protects the skin against UVB’s reddening effect versus the length of time the skin reddens without protection. Simply put, if your skin reddens after 15 minutes of  sun exposure without protection, applying sunscreen with SPF 20 will protect you 20 times longer which is equivalent to five hours. The higher the SPF number, the longer you are protected. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends at least SPF 15 which blocks up to 93% of  UVB. However, it is a must to reapply sunscreen every two hours to sustain the SPF.  It also helps if you avoid sun exposure between 10am- 4pm when UVB rays are abundant.

There are plenty of products sold in the market that have UVA, UVB and SPF. Take time to read the label, test if you must and choose which best suits you. My top 3 favorites are:


Clinique Super City Block Oil-Free Daily Face Protector has SPF 40 and protects against the harmful UVA and UVB rays. It suits all skin types. Use alone or as base for makeup.


I also like Body Shop’s Vitamin C Moisturizer SPF 15. It’s like hitting two birds in one stone. Vitamin C is known to enhance and improve skin’s elasticity, giving you that radiant glow. It also protects against UVA and UVB rays.

MAC Select SPF 15 is another favorite. It is a foundation and sunscreen in one (talk about savings!). It provides medium coverage, is water-based (ideal for oily and sensitive skin), and has SPF 15. It lasts pretty long so you don’t need touch-ups.

Discover the world of sunscreen. Fight wrinkles and prevent skin cancer. 


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