Broad Spectrum

Yes, absolutely.

And unlike many other brands, our products protect against both UVA and UVB rays equally well, because zinc oxide, our sole active ingredient, covers all parts of the UV spectrum equally.

There’s no other known ingredient that does, including titanium dioxide, which misses fully half of the UVA portion, and all petrochemicals, which must be cobbled together to cover various separate spectrum portions, with disastrous results to long term user health.

 

What “Broad Spectrum” actually means

The sun emits energy of various wavelengths that penetrate our Earth’s atmosphere. These include 2 types of ultraviolet light known as UVB rays, which mainly affect the skin’s surface (think B for Burn), and UVA rays, which penetrate to deeper skin layers where their effects can’t be seen directly (think A for Aging, including DNA damage and development of skin cancer).

A broad-spectrum sunscreen technically means it should defend against both UVB and UVA rays. But it’s critical to note that a product’s SPF relates ONLY to UVB rays, those affecting the surface. It has nothing to do with effectiveness against UVA rays, those which damage deeper tissues. The sun also emits UVC rays, which are absorbed by the ozone layer. (But just in case, zinc oxide covers UVC rays, too.)

broad spectrum

 

The FDA Broad Spectrum Blind Spot

This section is THE most important reality to absorb and appreciate. Here goes.

In 2011, the FDA began requiring broad spectrum sunscreens to meet minimum standards for both UVB and UVA protection. But although these standards include direct (in vivo) testing on human subjects for SPF, they allow for indirect (in vitro) testing of UVA coverage. And more importantly, within the UVA I range (340-400 nm) products must achieve ONLY 60% OF THE UVB COVERAGE, and within the UVA II range (320-340 nm), they need achieve ONLY 20% - to be labeled broad spectrum.

In other words, broad spectrum products can defend the skin’s surface much better than deeper tissues. And almost all sunscreens use this blind spot to design relatively low-cost products that do just that. Typically, they use various UVB-heavy combinations of petrochemicals, along with anti-inflammatory substances to game the FDA’s test and achieve artificially high SPFs that better attract uninformed consumers.

Such consumers wrongly assume they’re fully protected (as their skin shows little to no change) while receiving significant deep-tissue damage, which begins to show itself in a person’s 40s and 50s, as dermatologists everywhere can attest, and as skin cancer rates continue to rise about 4% annually (even after the above FDA rules began), while the population 65 and older increases at only 1.5% per year.

Translation? Common sunscreens, made with cheap petrochemicals and fortified with anti-inflammatories that protect much better at the skin’s surface than they protect deep skin tissues, are a driving force in the ongoing skin cancer explosion.

 

Waxhead Zinc Oxide Sunscreens + TRUE Broad Spectrum

Now the good news. Zinc oxide provides excellent protection against both UVA and UVB rays and is simply the best active sunscreen ingredient in the industry today.

Zinc oxide covers the entire UV spectrum by itself and has the most consistently effective absorption capabilities, which never degrade. This means that with 25% zinc oxide, the most of any brand, Waxhead sunscreens need no other active ingredient to deliver TRUE broad-spectrum coverage.

 

Ask us anything!

Email Mac questions about sunscreen, skincare or anything outdoors > mac@gowaxhead.com