What is broad spectrum sunscreen?
Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
The sun emits three types of rays – UVA, UVB, and UVC. Among them, UVA and UVB rays may result in pre-mature ageing and cause skin cancer. Overtime, several researches have been conducted to understand how UV rays can induce dermal damage. This is why; broad spectrum sunscreen is considered the best preventive measure from UVA and UVB exposure. “The American Academy of Dermatology evaluation” states that maximum sunscreens fail to achieve the broad spectrum protection. Here we give you an insight into what is broad spectrum sunscreen and why it is important?
Is broad-spectrum sunscreen better than others? In order to prevent early signs of ageing and increased risks of developing cancers, our skin requires protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Broad spectrum sunscreens are formulated in such a way that they shield both UVA and UVB rays. Whereas, other sunscreens despite having high SPF (Sun Protection Factor), only provide protection against UVB rays and not UVA rays.
UVA and UVB Protection
UVA – Wavelength of UVA light is between 320 nm to 400 nm. UVA rays are known to damage the deeper layers of skin as compared to UVB rays. They are responsible for causing long term skin damage such as ageing. Latest studies reveal that UVA not only causes damage in epidermis but also damages skin cell named Keratinocytes, which is found in the basal layer of the epidermis that triggers the development of skin cancer.
UVB – UVB light has a wavelength of 290 nm to 320 nm, which is lesser in comparison to UVA light. UVB rays mainly cause damage to superficial epidermal layers of skin. Being slightly stronger than UVA, they damage skin cells’ DNA. Primarily this is the root cause for tanning, sunburn, “photo ageing” and plays a key role in the development of skin cancer.
When it comes to UVA and UVB protection, you need to pay close attention to know which sunscreen is best for you. Therefore, to avoid the adverse effects of UVA and UVB rays, broad spectrum sunscreen is highly essential. What is photo ageing? The term photo ageing is used to define the skin changes that occur due to chronic UVA and UVB exposure. Our skin is composed of three layers – 1. Epidermis (outermost layer of the skin) 2. Dermis (2nd and thickest layer of the skin) 3. Subcutaneous tissue (Innermost layer of the skin).
Photageing is involved in causing major damage to connective tissue of dermis. Dermis is comprised of collagen, elastin, and other important fibers. All these proteins are responsible for maintaining skin integrity and elasticity. UV radiation (UVR) damages these important proteins, which subsequently leads to photo ageing. Hence, applying the best sunscreen that offers protection from both UVA and UVB is important.
Signs and Symptoms may include
- Hypo and hyperpigmentation
- Drooping skin (inelasticity)
- Age spots
- Broken blood vessels
- Easy bruising
- Leathery appearance
- Telangiectasia To know more about it read here
What if dermal damage occurs?
Once skin damage occurs, the production of crucial elements which are needed for skin regeneration gets affected.
- Major elements
- Essential fatty acids
- Hyaluronic acid
What is the best sunscreen for UVA and UVB protection?
It’s difficult to save yourself from UVB and UVA rays, since they are prevalent all through the year. Beside, UV radiations not only cause sunburn but have become a leading cause for skin cancer and skin ageing. Hence, Broad spectrum sunscreens have proven to be the best method to protect the skin from harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays. It is important to look for sunscreens that are labeled “broad spectrum”, in combination with some additional UVA-screening ingredients – Aqua, Homosalate, Octocrylene, Octyl Salicylate, and Avobenzone.
Opting for UVA and UVB protection everyday benefits the skin in multiple ways, which are –
- Keeping skin healthy
- Reducing the visible signs of premature ageing
- Protecting from certain types of cancers
- Preventing wrinkles and sunspots
On that account, it is important to make broad spectrum sunscreen an integral part of your daily skin care regimen to stay protected from UVA and UVB when you are outdoors.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen
- Cover up your face whenever go in sun exposure
- Go for UV blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes
- Try to avoid Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps as both contribute to long-term skin damage and skin cancer.