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HOW DOES SUNSCREEN WORK?
WHAT DOES SPF MEAN?
WHAT ARE UVB Rays?
What Are UVA Rays?
WHAT IS CRITICAL WAVELENGTH?
WHAT IS AVOBENZONE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
WHAT DOES “STABILIZED” AVOBENZONE MEAN?
WHAT IS MELANOMA?
WHAT PART OF THE SOLAR SPECTRUM CAUSES MELANOMA, UVA OR UVB?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TWO DIFFERENT SUNSCREENS WITH THE SAME SPF VALUE?
CAN I GET BURNED ON A CLOUDY DAY?
IS IT IMPORTANT TO RE-APPLY SUNSCREEN?
HOW DOES THE HUMAN BODY PROTECT ITSELF FROM SUNBURN?
CAN SOME SKINCARE PRODUCTS, MEDICATIONS and ALLERGIES AFFECT MY SENSITIVITY TO THE SUN?
IS IT SAFE TO USE SUNSCREEN ON AN INFANT?

HOW DOES SUNSCREEN WORK?
Sunscreen lotions work by absorbing, reflecting or scattering UV light. Sunscreen ingredients are either physical (reflecting) or chemical (absorbing, scattering) in nature. Many products contain a combination of ingredients. Regardless of the combination of ingredients, it is important to select a product that rates its level of UVA protection.

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WHAT DOES SPF MEAN?
SPF (sun protection factor) measures how long it takes sunscreen protected skin to begin to sunburn (turn red) as compared to unprotected skin. For instance, if it takes unprotected skin takes 10 minutes to burn, and then sunscreen protected skin with a SPF value of 15 will take 150 minutes to burn. SPF values only rates the level of UVB protection.

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WHAT ARE UVB Rays?
UVB rays produce the familiar sunburn. They also cause skin cancer. SPF (sun protection factor) ratings effectively rate the level of UVB protection provided by sun protection products. The UVB rays with short wavelength and high energy, produce a burning effect (sunburn) confined predominately to the surface of the epidermis.

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What Are UVA Rays?
UVA rays have a longer wavelength than UVB rays, penetrating deeper into the skin, and produce the aging associated with chronic sun exposure such as: skin sagging, loss of elasticity, pigment changes, deep wrinkles, and dry skin. Recent studies have shown a strong link between UVA rays and the development of melanoma. Critical Wavelength (CW) is the international standard to rate the level of protection against UVA rays.

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WHAT IS CRITICAL WAVELENGTH?
Critical Wavelength® (CW) is the most effective way to rate UVA protection. Solar radiation travels in waves. The wavelength corresponds to the solar energy of the wave. Solar radiation of 290nm to 400nm (the UVB-UVA range) is reproduced in a laboratory device designed to measure the amount of radiation absorbed by a sunscreen. Starting at the beginning of the UVB range (290nm), progressively higher wavelengths of light are aimed at the sunscreen. A protective absorption curve or “umbrella” is produced. The Critical Wavelength defines how far this umbrella (actually 90% of the umbrella) extend into the UVA range. So for a Critical Wavelength of 383nm, 90% of the sunscreen’s protective “umbrella is between the beginning of the UVB range (290nm) to 383nm (see Graph below) The higher the number, the better. A sunscreen with a Critical Wavelength® over 370nm is considered by the FDA to provided ultimate Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

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WHAT IS AVOBENZONE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Avobenzone is the best UVA filter available. It, along with zinc and titanium dioxide, are the only compounds which are FDA approved for protection against UVA rays. Consumers often say that zinc and titanium dioxide formulations feel “heavy.” Avobenzone formulations by comparison are light and cosmetically elegant. The highest Critical Wavelengths (CW) are also achieved in formulations using stabilized avobenzone.

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WHAT DOES “STABILIZED” AVOBENZONE MEAN?
Although Avobenzone is a superior UVA absorber, it is a photounstable compound, meaning that it breaks down quickly in sunlight. It is necessary for formulations using avobenzone to be stabilized. LUCA Sunscreen products use Polycrylene® (The HallStar Company) to stabilize avobenzone. Manufactures not only need to provide a Critical Wavelength to rate UVA protection, but this measurement should be performed on specimens which have been irradiated to simulate 4-6 hours in intense sunlight, proving that the formulations have been effectively stabilized.

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WHAT IS MELANOMA?
Melanoma, a very serious skin cancer, is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing tanning cells. Melanomas may suddenly appear without warning but can also develop from or near a mole. They are found most frequently on the upper backs of men and women or on the legs of women, but can occur anywhere on the body. For more information on Skin Cancers like deadly Melanoma go to The Skin Cancer Foundation website

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WHAT PART OF THE SOLAR SPECTRUM CAUSES MELANOMA, UVA OR UVB?
Although initially thought to be harmless, new epidemiological, genetic, and animal studies have shown that UVA exposure is the cause of sun induced melanoma. A strong argument can be made that UVA rays are in fact more dangerous than sunburn producing UVB rays. For scientific background information linking UVA exposure to melanoma please click here.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TWO DIFFERENT SUNSCREENS WITH THE SAME SPF VALUE??
Formulation. Many sunscreens have the same or similar active ingredients, but the difference is the base formula in which those active ingredients are placed. It is the formulation that determines how well a sunscreen works. Actives are important, but the choice and combination of inactives plays a vital role in determining if a formula achieves or even exceeds the expected SPF value with a given concentration of active ingredients. LUCA formulations are designed to get the maximum amount of protection from the lowest concentration of active ingredients.

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CAN I GET BURNED ON A CLOUDY DAY?
Absolutely. According to the World Health Organization, up to 80% of UV radiation can pass through the clouds. Other environmental factors to consider include altitude, time of day, where you live, season, UV index, and UV reflection off of snow, sand or water. Check the UV index for your location here.

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IS IT IMPORTANT TO RE-APPLY SUNSCREEN?
The first application of applying sunscreen should happen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Additional applications of sunscreen are recommended primarily for insuring the original application of sunscreen serves its purpose rather than allowing the user to extend their time in the sun.

Many things can affect the need to reapply sunscreen. Excessive sweating, toweling off, wind, and swimming all hamper the ability for sunscreen to remain on the skin and make re-application important.

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HOW DOES THE HUMAN BODY PROTECT ITSELF FROM SUNBURN?
UV rays cause the skin to produce Melanin, a brown pigment, which acts as the body’s natural sunscreen. In addition, gradual exposure to sunlight produces a thickening of the outer skin. These both exist to defend the skin from harmful radiation.

Skin peeling after sunburn is another way the body protects itself. If a cell has a small amount of damage to its DNA, the damage will be repaired and continue to function normally. However, if the damage is excessive, the cell(s) will die because of an internal mechanism that won’t allow the cell to survive with such a mutation. It is the death of these gene-damaged cells that causes the skin to peel after sunburn.

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CAN SOME SKINCARE PRODUCTS, MEDICATIONS and ALLERGIES AFFECT MY SENSITIVITY TO THE SUN?
There are many medications (certain antibiotics for instance), and quite a few skin care products that cause sensitivity to sunlight. As such one should inquire about the potential for sun sensitivity before taking any medication or using a new skin care products. Many if not most of these skin reactions are UVA mediated, therefore you should look for a sunscreen with a high critical wavelength value…one over 370nm.

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IS IT SAFE TO USE SUNSCREEN ON AN INFANT?
Children under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight for any more than a brief period of time. Beyond having delicate skin, young babies have a high skin surface area to body mass ratio meaning that they “dry out” quickly in the sun. They can dehydrate much faster than older children or adults.

LUCA Max Sport sunscreen is the best product for children. It was designed for endurance athletes, people who sweat heavily; knowing that sunscreens eventually sweat into eyes after hours in the sun or in a humid environment. It can be applied all around the eyes, eyelids etc. and will absolutely not cause irritation. We dare you!

 

Karl Gruber