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The Acronyms of Summer You Need to Know

Posted on 02 November 2016

From superficial burns to premature aging to skin cancer – the short and long-term effects of sun exposure are real and the risks are high. Below is a list of acronyms, used often and often misused, to help you defend yourself against the dangers of sun exposure.

Sun protection is more important than you are probably aware

The statistics are scary: Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. It is the most common type of cancer in Australia, and 90%-99% of skin cancer is related to sun exposure. And just in case skin cancer wasn’t enough of a deterrent, up to 90% of the visible signs of ageing, including wrinkles, are caused by sun exposure too. So, be it for health or vanity reasons, having the best possible skin comes down to reducing sun damage. 

With temperatures already on the rise, here’s a list of acronyms, used often and often misused, to help you defend yourself against the dangers of sun exposure.


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is found in invisible rays that come from sunlight. Every day is a day that you need to protect yourself from overexposure from UV rays. Not just days spent poolside or on the beach.  There is no connection between UV levels and temperature and you cannot see it, hear it or feel it. There are two types of UV rays that you need to be aware of: UVA and UVB.


Think UVB for Burn!  Everyone, especially people with fair skin types, are familiar with the burn from UVB rays. UVB rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm, but determining UVB levels is not as easy as you think because there is no connection between UV levels and temperature. You can find out how to look up the UV index in your region here!



Think UVA for Ageing. 95% of UV rays are UVA rays.  They are with us all the time, every day, regardless of the season, and hour of daylight, or weather forecast. UVA rays are responsible for premature skin ageing, such as pigmentation, wrinkles, reduced skin elasticity, dark spots, skin yellowing and skin cancer.  They penetrate deep into our skin, not just superficial layers, and through most clothing, cloud cover and untreated glass. The damaged caused by UVA rays is irreversible.


My advice:

Both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer, so it is important to protect yourself against both. Using a sunscreen that is labelled as Broad Spectrum, just means that protection against both UVA and UVB rays is provided. You can find out more about sunscreens here!



SPF stands for sun protection factor. It is a measure of how well the sunscreen protects against UVB rays (UVA protection isn't rated).  SPF is based on how long it takes for your skin to burn, compared to skin with no sunscreen.


My advice:

A sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will provide 1% more protection than a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 – it is not twice as protective. Rather than looking at a sunscreen's SPF, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen.



UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. It is a measure of how well clothing protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Similar to SPF (Sun Protection Factor) ratings for sunscreen. While standard summer fabrics have UPF of approximately 5, all Honeybell Waterwear garments are certified as providing UPF 50+, the highest possible rating, blocking 98% of harmful rays.


My advice:

For your own peace of mind, in addition to all the other sun safe practices you’ve been using to protect yourself, try slipping on a Honeybell Waterwear garment. Unlike sunscreen, no application is needed ahead of time and no reapplication needed, no chemicals will be absorbed into your skin and you’ll receive the best possible protection from both UVA and UVB rays.


No more excuses ladies.

Protect your skin. Love your skin. Look after your beautiful selves.

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