October 13, 2009

UVA UVB SPF and PA

So, what about them, right? Only one word should come into mind - sunscreen. Yeah, so? Well, it's only recently that I'm starting to be really big on sunscreen. It's a daily staple diet for my face, my skin... especially in this harsh Australian sun.

A lot of people may think it's unnecessary, especially if he/she spends most of the time indoor. But you know what, the sun rays can penetrate windows, glasses, clouds, through your car windows, and even if it's raining, the sun is still up there, isn't it? It doesn't disappear. Doesn't mean it's not there, even when you cannot see it.

Then what's all the fuss about? Why sunscreen everyday? Why do you need both UVA and UVB and what are they anyway? What does SPF stand for? And what about PA? and the + (plus) signs?
If you're interested, please do read on. If not, well then, nevermind.

Let me break it down...

UVA (UltraViolet A)
- THE ONE that contributes to AGING
- long wave rays penetrate deeply into the skin
- causes skin damage (both dermis and deep connective tissue)
- signs such as wrinkles, premature aging, pigmentation, brown spots, black dots...
- causes DNA damage to the cells that can cause cancer
- The best UVA protection is provided by products that contain zinc oxide, avobenzone, and ecamsule.

It is represented/labelled as:
PA (Protection Grade of UV A)
- Measurement of UVA Protection
- Mostly used by Japanese, Korean products, but spreading widely to other brands now
- The more + the better. So far, there's only PA+, PA++, PA+++... the one with 3 +'s being the best for now.

UVB (UltraViolet B)
- The one that causes SUNBURN & TAN (Darkened Skin)
- short wave rays that harms the dermis layer of our skin, but its damage is 1000x stronger than UVA
- Exposure to sun can cause the skin to have increase in melanin production, causing resulting in the tanning. It also cause inflammation, sunburns.

It is represented/labelled as:
SPF (Sun Protection Factor)
- If you stay indoor most of the time, probably around SPF15-25 would suffice
- If you go outdoor, higher would be preferrable, around SPF27-35
- If you are pretty much outdoor all the time, swimming, beach, skiing, walking, you would need one with SPF50 or above. (Yes, they do have SPF higher than 30 - SOLD OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA)
- Wearing a sunscreen with SPF 50, your skin will not burn until it has been exposed to 50 times the amount of solar energy that would normally cause it to burn.

I have to say Japanese brands probably have the best sunscreen, most likely due to their cultural/climate/society aspects. I tell you, their spf can go as high as SPF130! How about that for major protection!

What I'm simply trying to say is, sunscreens are important. You're in for the long run. For the face, I would recommend to use those sunscreens specially made for the face. I find them non greasy, and more blendable, and smoother than those normal body sunscreens. But anyway, more about Face Sunscreens coming up later!

Face Sunscreen Edition 1
--> Click Here


I should really go to sleep now. Nite nite!! =)

4 comments:

yzhuhuong said...

i've never bothered putting on sunscreen underneath all the make up i wear :P but i shall try from now onwards! rawr!

DANA said...

for the face, i would definitely recommend sunscreens specially designed for the face. they would feel non-greasy, more like moisturiser, or get those new line of moisturisers with SPF included. =) more about face sunscreen later in my blog!! keep a look out!

Tiff said...

I know that SPF is a measure of protection against UVB and a lot of people wrongly think that higher SPF means they don't have to reapply as much. The reason why Australian sunscreens don't go beyond 30 is because they do not want people to fall into the misconception that if they apply a really high SPF sunscreen they don't need to reapply as often. That's why you can find sunscreens here that say SPF30+ but not allowed to say just what number it really is. This is only because of our ridiculously high skin cancer rates and beach culture and all that, if you're not surfing all day I don't think it's a big issue.

.blushfully. said...

Hi Tiff. Definitely I agree with what you said meaning that many people would fall into the misconception that with higher SPF they don't have to reapply as often. I must say, the rate of skin cancer in Australia is quite frightening, I've only heard such high number of it when I came here!

Thanks for your comment.