What makes a good UV filter?

Not all UV filters are equally good. There are UV filters that disintegrate under UV radiation, i.e. are not photostable. This reduces the protective effect and the decay products can irritate the skin.

Some chemical sunscreen filters can cause allergies. This reaction is often interpreted as a sun allergy even though the skin is reacting to the sunscreen. We find it particularly worrying if UV filters contain nano-particles and can penetrate the skin due to their small molecular size and get into the bloodstream. The result, an increased risk that they will disrupt the body’s metabolic processes. That is why it is important to look closely at UV filters.

So what properties will a  good UV filter have? We believe the following are vital:

  • Do not penetrate the skin
  • Do not cause allergies
  • Be photostable, i.e. not decay in the sun
  • Have no side effects on the body’s metabolism

Sun protection: what to look for when buying

The UV filters are listed with the other ingredients on the packaging of the sunscreen. However, the manufacturers usually combine several UV filters in one product. In addition, many filter substances are hidden behind complicated and difficult to remember names (see list at the end). So we have to take a closer look. And we hope that the EU Cosmetics Regulation will change the regulations here that manufacturers need to list them separately to make it crystal clear and empower the consumer. As it is tedious, but so worth taking a close look at the list of ingredients.

Important: protection against UVA and UVB radiation

The sun filter combination should protect against both UVA and UVB rays. The sun’s UVB rays trigger sunburn, while UVA rays contribute to skin ageing by damaging the DNA within the skin.

The specified sun protection factor (SPF) only relates to UVB radiation. It is therefore important that the UVA symbol is also shown on the packaging. This is the only way to be sure that the product protects against both rays.