How to read a Sunscreen label - SPF, PA, Broad Spectrum ratings

As we step into the sunny days of summer, ensuring proper protection against harmful UV rays becomes increasingly vital. Sunscreen, our trusted ally in shielding our skin from the sun's damaging effects, comes in a wide array of options. But have you ever found yourself puzzled by the confusing jargon on sunscreen labels? Fear not, for in this blog article, we will unravel the mysteries of sunscreen labels and shed light on the importance of understanding key indicators such as SPF, PA, and Broad Spectrum.


What is SPF and PA ?

When it comes to sunscreen, there are a few terms you might encounter: SPF, PA are the most common, and most important. Let's break them down:

SPF = UVB filter

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor; it's like the superhero shield that protects your skin from UVB rays, the nasty ones responsible for sunburns, hyperpigmentation, melasma, freckles. Go for a high SPF value (between 30 and 50), and you'll be beach-ready for longer! The highest SPF available is 100 and it blocks out 99% of UVB rays. Remember that SPF 100 is only slightly better than SPF 50 (which blocks 98% of UVB rays, no much more).

PA = UVA/HEV filter

The PA rating system is used in most Asian countries. PA stands for Protection Grade of UVA, aka the defender against UVA rays, the sneaky culprits behind premature aging, oxidative stress and skin cancer risks. Those little plus signs (+) after PA show the strength of the UVA protection. The more plus signs, the mightier the shield! So, aim for PA ratings with as many plus signs as possible (PA++++ being the ultimate champ) for some serious UVA defense. HEV or blue light, are shielded in the same way as UVA.

The equivalent of PA outside Asia is PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening). Higher PPD values mean your skin gets a better bodyguard against these pesky rays.

Native Essentials SPF vs PA sun filters


When it comes to choosing the right sunscreen, understanding the difference between various sun protection factors (SPF) and the PA rating is crucial for effective sun protection. SPF 10 and PA+ provide a moderate level of defense against harmful UVB and UVA rays, respectively. With SPF 50 and PA++++, on the other hand, you're stepping up your sun protection game significantly. SPF 50 offers a high level of protection against UVB rays, while PA++++ provides exceptional defense against UVA rays. Let's delve deeper into these distinctions to help you make an informed decision and keep your skin shielded from the sun's damaging effects.


Native Essentials Skincare SPF and PA ratings


So, when you're shopping for sunscreen, look for ones with both high SPF values and high PA ratings (or simply "broad-spectrum") for the ultimate sun safety package. A great sunscreen is SPF50 / PA+++/+


What is broad-spectrum? 

Picture this: your skin is a precious canvas, and the sun is an artist wielding two types of brushes: UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays are like the intense brushstrokes that can leave you looking like a red tomato, while UVA rays are the subtle strokes that silently contribute to skin aging and cellular damage.

Enter broad-spectrum sunblock, the superhero of skincare! It shields your skin from both UVB and UVA rays, providing all-around protection. Think of it as a double defense system that keeps your skin safe from sunburns and helps prevent long-term damage, like wrinkles and dark spots, and, most crucially, skin cancer.

Now, when it comes to choosing a good moisturizer with SPF and PA (UVB and UVA protection), here are some helpful tips:

Look for "broad-spectrum" on the label: This means the moisturizer has your back against both UVB and UVA rays. Typically a blend of 2 filters or more are used to ensure complete UVB and UVA protection. 

Check the SPF value: Aim for a moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or 50. This indicates how well it shields you from UVB rays. 

Seek a high PA rating: PA ratings show the strength of a product's UVA protection. Look for moisturizers with a high PA rating, indicated by a greater number of plus signs (e.g., PA+, PA++, PA+++, PA++++). 

Find a formula that suits your skin type: Whether you have dry, oily, or sensitive skin, there's a moisturizer with SPF and PA out there for you. Look for lightweight, non-greasy formulas that won't clog your pores or cause irritation.

Don't forget to reapply every 2/3 hours: even the best moisturizers with SPF and PA need to be reapplied regularly.

If you are outdoors and need  safe protection even after swimming or sweating, look for a water-resistant sunscreen.

Native essentials Skincare A good sunscreen should be

So, when you're on the hunt for a moisturizer that packs a UVB and UVA punch, keep these tips in mind. Choose a broad-spectrum moisturizer with a high SPF value, a strong PA rating, and confidently enjoy the sun while keeping your skin healthy and glowing.

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