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Beyond broad spectrum: The science of sun protection technology
  • The importance of breadth of protection, height of protection, and photostability in a sunscreen formulation
  • How high SPF sunscreens help compensate for underapplication

"Broad spectrum" doesn't guarantee high UVB and high UVA protection

UVA/UVB protection

  • As a result of amendments made to the FDA’s sunscreen monograph, “broad spectrum” protection is mainly defined by critical wavelength*1
    - Critical wavelength measures breadth of protection, but not the height (amplitude)
  • Critical wavelength test does not require that a broad spectrum sunscreen provide both high UVB and high UVA protection
  • Comprehensive sun protection goes beyond critical wavelength and includes a high SPF value to protect against sunburn caused primarily by UVB, a high UVA protection factor, and a photostable formulation for long-term protection

Recommend superior protection with Helioplex® Technology to compensate for underapplication

SPF application density

  • Studies suggest that patients routinely underapply sunscreen by 50% to 75%2
  • At relevant application dosage, high SPF products maintained superior effectiveness in vivo vs lower SPF products3
    - SPF 50 offered significantly greater protection than SPF 30
    - SPF 70 offered significantly greater protection than SPF 50
    - SPF 100 offered significantly greater protection than SPF 70


*The final ruling for labeling and testing was issued in June 2011. FDA required that companies comply with labeling and testing of product to the new monograph by December 2012.

  1. Labeling and Effectiveness Testing; Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration; 2012.
  2. Diffey B. and Ferguson J. Assessment of Photoprotective Properties of Sunscreens. In Clinical Guide to Sunscreens and Photoprotection edited by Lim H. and Draelos Z. Informa Healthcare 2009; pp 53-63.
  3. Ou-Yang H, Stanfield J, Cole C, Appa Y, Rigel D. High-SPF sunscreens (SPF ≥ 70) may provide ultraviolet protection above minimal recommended levels by adequately compensating for lower sunscreen user application amounts. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012;67(6):1220-1227.