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All sunscreens are required by the FDA to pass certain tests. We’re happy to comply because the safety of our customers is our top priority. You can see our test results by clicking the links above, and learn a little more below about how the tests are performed, how they work and what they measure.
There are two main types of UV rays: UVA rays (those responsible for aging and other damage) and UVB rays (those responsible for burning). Think of the “A” in UVA as standing for aging, and the “B” in UVB as standing for burning.
The What, How and Why of UVA Testing
UVA rays penetrate further into the skin and can contribute to the look of aging. Because the damage isn’t immediately visible, the FDA uses a test called the Critical Wavelength Method. It’s often referred to as a UVA test, but it really tests to see if a product protects across the spectrum, or is “broad spectrum.”
This test is not done on people, but is instead done in vitro. An even layer of sunscreen is applied to a roughened PMMA (acrylic) plate and exposed to UV light. This test measures the percent of the total spectrum a product protects from by determining how much of the UVA/UVB light gets through. According to the FDA, sunscreens can be classified as “broad spectrum” only when their critical wavelength is longer than 370 nm.
OUR SUNSCREEN FAR EXCEEDS THE FDA’s CRITICAL WAVELENGTH TEST REQUIREMENT, AND COME IN AT 375.87 nm.
We all likely know about UVB rays. These are the ones that cause burns and are the main reason people use sunscreen. The FDA’s Sun Factor Protection (SPF) test is much easier since the results of UVB exposure are visible to the eye. To measure water resistance at the same time as SPF, this test has people sit in a hot tub for a length of time after applying sunscreen. Once they get out, they are exposed to UV light. After time, redness is measured and compared. Because people are different, the test is designed to be individual as well. The SPF rating is the amount of time it would take you to sunburn if you were not wearing sunscreen, as opposed to the time it would take with sunscreen on.