Knowing your Critical Wavelength might just save your life!

We all are familiar with the SPF system which rates the level of UVB or sunburn protection. However, most are unfamiliar with the dangers posed by UVA rays. These rays are responsible for pre-mature aging and sun induced skin cancer. 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) extends 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.  The higher the number, the better. A sunscreen with a Critical Wavelength® over 370nm is considered Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

Now the FDA agrees and has released their recent ruling on sunscreen labeling.  According to the rule, all sunscreens that want to be defined as Broad Spectrum must meet the 370nm Critical Wavelength® in order to label their products as Broad Spectrum.  This rule will take effect Summer 2012.

You will find the Critical Wavelength® value on all LUCA® Sunscreen products. LUCA® Sunscreen has voluntarily placed the Critical Wavelength® value on all of our products for six years.  We have also encouraged other sunscreen manufacturers to do the same.  So you don’t have to wait until next summer to get the best protection under the sun.  You can get it with any LUCA® Sunscreen product now.

Karl Gruber