FEATURE: How To Read Your SPF Label


BFF Beauty put together a few easy-to-follow charts & guides that will help you better understand your sunscreen this summer

Sunscreen labels are getting a makeover this summer!  New FDA labeling requirements force many brands to reprint their labels.  But what does it all mean?  To better understand your new sunscreen label, take a look at the following pictures:

WHAT EXACTLY ARE UVA & UVB RAYS?

UVA rays can penetrate deeply into your skin and suppress your immune system. This increases the risk of wrinkling and age spots. UVB rays can burn your skin. Too much exposure to both UVA and UVB rays raises your risk of skin tumors, including a form of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
See diagram below:

WHAT DOES THE TERM ‘BROAD SPECTRUM’ MEAN?

There are two types of UV light that can harm your skin — UVA and UVB. A broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum, sunscreen is designed to protect you from both.



The best sunscreen offers protection from all UV light.
See chart below for FDA approved ‘Active Sunscreen Ingredients’ and their UV light protection:

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PHYSICAL & CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN?

There are two general types of sunscreens, physical and chemical ones. Physical sunscreens use physical UV filters, while chemical sunscreens use chemical UV filters.  Nowadays there are also sunscreens that contain both chemical and physical UV filters to make the best of both worlds.

See chart below for basic differences between Physical & Chemical sunscreens:

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