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A better life for sensitive skin.

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB?

Of the whole spectrum of UV radiation, two types of rays reach our skin: Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB). Both are known to contribute to skin ageing and a range of diseases caused by sun exposure.

UVB radiation – referred to as “shorter rays” – is the usual suspect behind same-day sunburns due to overexposure. UVA radiation – called “longer rays” – is responsible for long-term skin damage due to sun exposure with some contribution to sunburn. UVA rays are responsible for some 95 per cent of the radiation that reaches our skin, while UVB only accounts for five per cent. This doesn’t mean that we should ignore UVB – even that five per cent can be dangerous. But it does mean that we should definitely pay attention to UVA protection, especially since UVA rays are not absorbed by the atmosphere and can affect us year-round, in the shade, and through haze, fog and certain types of glass.

SPF - only a part of the equation

Most consumers choose a sun care product based on the Sun Protection Factor (SPF), not realizing that it is only a measure of a product’s protection against UVB rays. Recognizing the need for customersto know if a sunscreen is also effective against UVA rays. Recognizing the need for customers to know if a sunscreen is also effective against UVA rays, Health Canada will soon recognize a new UVA protection logo indicating a sun protection product has the minimum ratio of 3:1 UVB to UVA protection. UVA protection is tested in sun care products using the Persistent Pigmentation Darkening (PPD) test. Under the new Health Canada regulations, a product with an SPF of 60 will be required to have a PPD of 20 – the equivalent of at least one third of the UVB protection, in order to qualify for the logo.

Kateline Turgeon, director of national training at La Roche-Posay and Vichy, says, “The main difference between these new regulations and the current ones is that products were able to claim UVA protection if they had one ingredient that was proven to protect against it; there was no minimum level of protection required.”

ooking for a sunscreen that offers UVA protection in accordance with the latest regulations? Select sun care products, such as La Roche-Posay, feature the new UVA logo and are already available.

Leading the way in UVA protection

With a long-ingrained understanding of the importance of UVA protection, La Roche-Posay was ready to submit its products for Health Canada approval when new regulations were announced.

“Our products have such a high level of UVA protection that it was easy for Health Canada to approve our use of the new UVA logo,”
says Kateline Turgeon. “We also had all the clinical results in place to show the necessary specifics about the formulas and prove that we had the necessary UVA protection.”

As a result, La Roche-Posay’s sun care products were among the first few Canadian products to feature the new UVA logo. Currently, only 20 per cent of all sunscreen products on the market can make the same proven claims of proper UVA protection. For high-quality products offering UVA and UVB protection, check out the Anthelios line of sun care products. Consult a dermatologist for more information about the best sun protection for your skin.