The difference between UVA and UVB rays


Regardless of whether the sun is visible to the human eye or hidden within the clouds, sun rays can still impact your skin.

UVA and UVB are the two most common types of rays discussed within the skincare industry, and are known for causing sunburn, increasing the signs of ageing, and even causing skin cancer in severe cases.

To find out more about the damaging effects of UVA/B rays on the skin, how to identify between the two and protect the skin effectively, read on…


UV quite simply stands for ultraviolet radiation.

Ultraviolet rays are classified as the most damaging form of rays to the human skin and can induce both acute (reversible) and chronic (irreversible) effects, which is why sun protection is key.


You’ve probably heard the terms UVA and UVB used in discussions surrounding sun damage, but can you tell the difference between these ultraviolet rays?

UVB: these rays are most commonly recognised for causing sunburn and are a huge contributing factor where skin cancer is concerned. Too much UVB exposure can result in black mole cancer, otherwise known as malignant melanoma.

UVA: while these rays also contribute towards the increased risk of skin cancer, they are most recognised for speeding up the signs of ageing, as they can penetrate deep beneath the skin’s surface and have a greater, long-lasting impact. In addition to this, sunlight includes a much greater percentage of UVA rays in comparison to UVB, making it imperative to protect the skin against both.


The obvious and easiest way to avoid the damaging effects of both ultraviolet rays is to avoid the sunshine (especially at midday, when the sunlight is strongest), but as most of us are about to jet away on our summer vacations, there are a few additional steps you can take to protect the skin.

It goes without saying that a good moisturiser with SPF, UVA and UVB filters is imperative when stepping outside, especially throughout the summer months – but there are various misconceptions about what the factor itself (e.g. factor 15) stands for.

It effectively demonstrates how long it is safe to stay outside in the sun for before reapplying, in comparison to the length of time you would sit outside without protection on and get sunburnt. Therefore, it is vital to choose a sun cream with a strong enough protection to reflect your environment and reapply regularly throughout the day, to avoid any UV damage.


A selection of our day creams have been boosted with SPF, including our Rose Radiance Day Cream SPF15 and Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream SPF15; while some include UVA/B protection, including our best-selling Vitamin C Daily Moisturiser and newly launched Hyaluronic Acid Day Cream.

While this level of protection is great for the British winter months, we strongly advise that our customers opt for a high sun cream as well as their go-to moisturiser for complete summer protection.


2 Replies to “The difference between UVA and UVB rays”

  1. Which is the best cream to use in conjunction with your retinol serum and creams, with regard to SPF?

    1. Hi Iona, apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Please note that when using our Retinol products, we recommend using a sunblock or SPF25 (minimum) as a daily protector in the UK, even if it’s not sunny. We also recommend avoiding high summer and building up retinol usage slowly as advised on the packaging. We hope this helps.

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