Dive Deeper Blog

Why you should care about broad-spectrum sunscreen

February 28, 2018

UVA rays — which transmit through glass (or clouds) anytime the sun is shining — are more likely to cause long-term skin damage than UVB rays that cause sunburns.

If you don’t know (and don’t think you care) about why you need a broad-spectrum sunscreen, take a look at this picture from the New England Journal of Medicine.

UVB light causes sunburn – a clear cause and miserable effect – but even a small amount of UVA light over a long period of time results in significant damage. This photo is of a 69-year-old truck driver who got more sun on the left side of his face than the right for nearly 30 years.

Both UVA and UVB rays are linked to cancer, but up to 95% of the UV radiation reaching the earth is UVA. UVA rays also are present all day long – not just in the hottest part of the day – and can penetrate clouds and glass. And because they penetrate the skin more deeply, they’re more likely to be implicated in skin damage and wrinkling.

Besides being dangerous to the ecosystems we love, chemical sunscreens typically do not block UVA rays effectively. That’s why you’ll often see a combination of chemicals like “benzophenone” based ingredients in a single sunscreen. They each block a certain range of the UV spectrum so formulators have to combine them to address the “broad-spectrum” issue.

A study published in the Journal of The American Academy of Dermatology evaluated 59 commercially available sunscreen products, and found that only 10 % achieved a critical wavelength of at least 370nm, failing to meet the minimum requirements for broad-spectrum protection.

Properly formulated mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, work like a full-cover shield both absorbing and refracting the UV rays. Along with non-nano titanium dioxide (the only sunscreen ingredient proven to be reef-safe), Stream2Sea uses botanical antioxidants to increase the broad-spectrum protection.  All our SPF formulas have a critical wavelength exceeding 380 nm, greater than both the US and EU requirements for broad spectrum claims. (See report below.)

Go back and look at that photo again – then think about it before you go back outside.  A broad-spectrum, mineral-based sunscreen is like using a wide golf umbrella in the rain, while harmful chemical while harmful chemical versions are just covering your head with your hands and hoping for the best. And don’t forget to wear sunscreen every day – this man wasn’t playing in the sun, he was just driving a truck.

And if you haven’t tried it already, now is the perfect time to check out our new tinted sunscreen. Made with the same reef-safe ingredients found in the original Stream2Sea products, we added natural minerals that function perfectly as a light make-up for daily use. Turns out, men like it as much as women do! Learn more here: https://stream2sea.com/product/tinted-sunscreen-spf-20