The New UVC-Protecting Sunscreens: To Buy or Ignore?

Skin Care


Recently, sunscreens have started to appear on the market with a new “UVC” rating.  While UVA corresponds to the longest wavelength of ultraviolet light (approximately 320-400 nm) and is largely responsible for long-term skin aging and UVB is middle wavelength (280-320 nm) and creates skin erythema and burning, UVC is the shortest wavelength (approximately 100-280 nm) and been associated with acute sunburn, according to the journal Contact Dermatitis.  Yet, according to Dr. Ellen Marmur, M.D., chief of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City in the April 2009 Glamour, “Some companies have been listing UVC on their sunscreen labels as a marketing tool.  It’s a total scam by people just to make a buck…UVC rays…are almost completely blocked by the atmosphere, unless you’re at incredibly high altitudes, like Mt. Everest.”  

The verdict?  Don’t be drawn into these new sunscreens that advertise “UVC” ratings.  Instead, look for the highest UVA/UVB protection you can.  And for the ultimate in performance in sun protection, always contact your dermatologist first, who can give personalized recommendations. 🙂

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  • HI,
    UVC rays…are almost completely blocked by the atmosphere….but for those ARTIFICIAL light sources that can cause severe damage to the skin – UVC type lotions can significantly help to reduce exposure and long term risks.
    prUV ULTRA VIOLET SKIN PROTECTION LOTION -prUV protects your skin against:UVA-, UVB- and UVC-rays when exposed to intensive sun radiation and against technical UV radiation sources (e.g. electric arc welding, lacquers, inks, adhesives, halogen lamps used for resin/plastic curing, etc.)
    These have been found to be very useful to those exposed in strong sunlight workplaces in building construction, civil engineering / road construction, agricultural/gardening areas, with electric arc welding, along with people with sun allergies and sunlight sensitivity issues.

  • Josiah

    From what I understand, UVC is blocked primarily by Ozone.

    Perhaps regions with holes in the Ozone layer, such as Australia, have less UVC being blocked off, and thus protection against UVC becomes more relevant.

  • I can’t believe companies are allowed to get away with that sort of thing! The cosmetics industry is in serious need for a bit of regulation.

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