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UVA and UVB filters for reliable protection

Jun '08
Sunshine, sandy beaches – summer's begun, vacation season beckons. A national awareness day sloganed "Sun Protection? Sure as Sunshine!" is to mark the start of summer and show effective ways of protecting the skin against too much sun.

"Sun Protection Awareness Day" takes place on June 21 under the joint aegis of various institutions including the German Child Welfare Association (Deutscher Kinderschutzbund), Federal Consumer Initiatives' Association (Bundesverband der Verbraucher Initiative) and the Personal Care Industry Association (Industrieverband Körperpflege- und Waschmittel).

BASF's highly active UV filters help protect skin from UV radiation. BASF supplies many big-name sunscreen product manufacturers and is one of the world's leading cosmetic industry suppliers. More and more skincare and decorative cosmetic products now contain UV filters.

"A good product should give two-fold protection against sunburn and premature skin aging," says Dr. Heike Floesser-Mueller, sunscreen expert and European marketing specialist for cosmetic ingredients at BASF. "So cosmetic products should contain UVB and UVA filters."

BASF developed the highly active filter Uvinul A Plus for reliable protection against deeply penetrating UVA radiation.

How does UVA radiation affect our skin?
Long-wave UVA radiation accounts for about 90 percent of the UV light reaching the surface of the earth. Scientists now know for sure that long-wave UVA light harms the skin.

It penetrates the connective tissue at depth, causing chronic damage and promoting premature skin aging (photoaging), among other effects. Signs of photoaging include lines and wrinkles, reduced skin elasticity, pigment spots, and impaired immune system performance.

UVA radiation also generates free radicals. These are highly reactive aggressive compounds that attack everything in their immediate environment. They harm cell membranes and interfere with DNA, disrupting the fine balance that regulates cell functions. UVA radiation also stimulate the body's natural mechanisms into excessive breakdown of connective tissue fibers composed of elastin and collagen. The skin loses elasticity and moisture, causing wrinkles to develop or deepen.

Our bodies have no UVA warning system similar to the sunburn that indicates excessive UVB exposure. The effects accumulate unnoticed and become evident only after years have passed. It doesn't take sunbathing to expose us to UVA radiation. UVA reaches us through an overcast sky, in the shade and behind windows.

The EU Commission recently acknowledged the problem and issued a recommendation for a minimum level of UVA protection in sunscreen products. A round UVA label on the pack indicates that a product offers adequate UVA protection.

How does Uvinul A Plus work?
BASF's Uvinul A Plus captures incident radiation and converts it to harmless heat. The substance is highly lightproof and so provides long-lasting protection. "Uvinul A Plus provides effective and dependent solar protection," says Dr. Heike Floesser-Mueller.

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