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13th May 2019

What is Broad Spectrum Protection?

Broad spectrum refers to a sunscreen that protects from the full range of UV rays that reach the skin. To fully understand this it’s important to look at the types of UV rays and how they affect us.

Types of UV Rays:


UVA rays are those that penetrate most deeply into the skin. They are considered to be the primary cause of premature ageing and contributors to developing skin cancer. UVA rays are present at fairly consistent levels throughout daylight hours all year round. UVA rays are able to penetrate through both glass and cloud cover.[1]


UVB rays don’t penetrate as deeply into the skin as UVA, but are the main causes for burns, skin reddening and skin cancers[2]. UVB rays are most present during the summer months.


You may not have heard of UVC and this is because at this time UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach the surface of the skin. This is why UVC is not often mentioned when discussing broad spectrum protection.[3]

An easy way to remember the difference between UVA and UVB is to think: A is for ageing and B is for burning.

But be aware, both UVA and UVB cause irreparable damage to the skin and contribute to skin cancers, so it is important to protect against both.

The best thing you can do to ensure you are protected from both UVA and UVB rays is to use a broad-spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen all year round along with protective clothing such as a hat, sunglasses, as well as seeking shade during days where the UV reaches over 3. [4]

SunSense sunscreens are broad spectrum and offer SPF 50+ protection so you can be assured that you are getting the highest level of SPF protection available against both UVA and UVB rays when correctly applied on the skin. Always read the label and use only as directed.

[1] Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA & UVB, (Internet) 2017 (cited 2019 May 13) Available from:

[2] Cancer Research UK, How does the sun and UV cause cancer (Internet) 2019 (cited 2019 May 13) Available from:

[3] American Cancer Society, What is Ultraviolet Radiation? (Internet) 2017 (cited 2019 May 13) Available from:

[4] Cancer Council Australia. UV Index (Internet) 2019 (cited 2019 May 13) Available from:



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