UVA and UVB: The difference

Ensuring your SPF protects you with a maximum UVA filter is extremely important, particularly from an ageing point of view as these rays penetrate deeper into the skin and through glass and are as strong in the winter as they are on sunny days. They’re the main cause of patchiness, spider veins, enlargement of blood vessels, increased darkening and collagen and elastin damage while UVB rays are those that cause burning. Sunscreens should be broad spectrum and there are several symbols to denote good UV protection; the symbol for maximum UVA protection is often seen as a ‘UVA’ in a circle and is most often used by medical or professional brands as well as the star system adopted by retailers - 5 stars being the level best selected.

Chemical vs physical

Physical sun protection (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) is also referred to as sun block and sits on the surface of the skin deflecting rays like a mirror, while chemical filters (mexoryl and triazine), also known as sunscreen, absorb the UV energy to prevent it from penetrating the skin. Chemical formulations are generally lighter and invisible, however most experts still recommend physical SPF as it offers both UVA and UVB protection and doesn't irritate sensitive skin.

The factor choice

It’s normally recommended that sunscreens used should be between SPF 15 and SFF 30 to give the correct level of protection. Anything below an SPF 15 gives very little additional protection. As SPF 30 generally gives over 96% protection, it is often asked whether the additional protection an SPF 60 gives is worth the greater level of sunscreen ingredients. Generally, it’s not essential unless you have a specific condition where SPF 50 or 60 is recommended (e.g. hyper-pigmentation) but most skin cancer charities state SPF30 applied correctly and regularly is sufficient and limits the concentration of sunscreen ingredients the skin is exposed to.

SPF every day?

We should be wearing an SPF all year round but many are often resistant to using sunscreen daily as their experience of greasy high street products on holiday is often a negative one. We formulated our Vitage® Skin Defence SPF 30 to go on like a moisturiser and leave a matt effect which is perfect for use all year round.