Why You Need Protection from Both UVA and UVB Rays

What are the differences between UVA and UVB rays? We’ve all become a lot more skin savvy in recent years when it comes to sun protection, although many of us still aren’t too sure of what to look for in a sunscreen.

Let’s start with UV, which stands for ultraviolet. Ultraviolet radiation is a form of energy which travels to the earth via the sun’s rays (but can also be created by man-made sources such as tanning beds, lasers and welding torches). Radiation comes in many forms, from high-frequency x-rays right down to low-frequency radio waves, and UV rays sit somewhere in the middle of these two. These rays can be divided into two main types that affect us:

UVA Rays

UVA rays have less energy, but are generally known to penetrate deeper into the skin dermis. This means UVA rays are the culprit for ageing, so all those fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, sun spots and leathery or “creped” skin. However, UVA rays can also cause some skin cancers.

UVB Rays

UVB rays are of a higher energy, and hence can damage our skin cells. For this reason, UVB rays are worse as they can cause burning and skin cancer. A must-have, and luckily most effective sunscreens will prevent against UVB rays.

If you ever need a quick reminder, think of UVA as Ageing of the skin, and UVB for Burning of the skin. Ultimately, you’ll want to be opting for a broad spectrum sunscreen (meaning protection against both UVA and UVB rays) if you’re wanting to protect against skin cancer, as well as sun damage and burning. UV rays are the number one cause of skin ageing too, so this is such an important step in your daily skincare routine if you’re wanting gorgeous skin in the future.

Is it ok to skip my sunscreen on cloudy days, in the morning or evening, or when I’m working indoors?

Whilst this seems like an easier option, if you really want to minimise your risk of skin cancer and wrinkles you should wear your UV protection daily. The sun’s rays are stronger in the middle of the day, but here in New Zealand with less ozone we need more protection throughout the morning and afternoon too. UV rays can also penetrate through clouds, through windows, and bounce off surfaces like water, pavement and grass, which boost exposure.

What effective daily face sunscreen does Probeauty recommend?

Some people are reluctant to wear sunscreen daily because it can be oily, greasy, thick or very white (creating that “ghosting” look). A mineral, zinc-based sunscreen is your best bet – as this works like a shield, rather than chemical sunscreens which use a chemical reaction to absorb the sun’s rays, and don’t always provide UVB protection. A tinted sunscreen containing 20% zinc oxide is your perfect go-to for daily application.

Our favourite daily sunscreen picks are:

Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Moisturising Face Sunscreen for a nourishing tinted face sunscreen, perfect for beach, walking or weekend wear. O Cosmedics Mineral Pro for a lightly tinted colour to apply under makeup or on it’s own (also available in a non-tinted version). Suntegrity Impeccable Skin for a medium coverage foundation that protects with SPF30 and gives you a gorgeous, even skin tone. Dp Dermaceuticals Cover Recover for a fuller coverage foundation, as well as cooling and healing factors for use after skin-treatments or on very sensitive skins.

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