Broad Spectrum Sunscreen & SPF 101

What is Broad Spectrum Sunscreen and why is it important?

Sunscreens labeled as “Broad-Spectrum” pass the FDA’s testing requirements to protect against UVA and UVB rays. It is important to note that although UVB is the primary cause of sunburn, both UVA and UVB can cause skin cancer.

Previous to December 2012, sunscreens were only required to block UVB, which would only protect the top layer of your skin. Broad-Spectrum extends the Sunscreen’s protection to cover a wider range of UV ray lengths to incorporate UVA protection, as UVA penetrates deeper into skin and can lead to premature skin aging. 

As demonstrated in the graphic above, Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays to provide consumers with more protection against harmful UV rays. 

SPF stands for sun protection factor, a measure of how well sunscreen protects against UVB rays. Manufacturers calculate SPF based on how long it takes to sunburn skin that's been treated with the sunscreen as compared to skin with no sunscreen. 

Rather than looking at a sunscreen's SPF, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

For more information, please visit the FDA’s website.