SUNSCREENS 101: What do sunscreen labels mean?

Sep 25, 2023


Sunscreens 101: What labels mean - Peaches&Creme K-beauty Skincare

Choosing the right sunscreen for you can save your skin this summer. Sure, parsing reviews can help, but knowing and understanding what protection your sun care provides can give you the best chance of picking up what you really need.

A lot of you might be wondering what these labels mean while choosing what sunscreen to buy. What is PA and SPF? And there’s a lot of pluses after! Which one should I choose? Don't worry, we've got you.

Difference Between PA and SPF

PA (Protection Grade of UVA)

This measures the sunscreen's UVA protection.

SPF (Sun Protection Factor)

This measures the UVB protection offered by the sunscreen. 


A sunscreen with a label “broad spectrum” means that the product provides protection from both UVB and UVA rays, even if the product does not indicate a PA number.

Sunscreens 101: What is UVA and UVB - Peaches&Creme K-beauty Skincare


What is UVA and UVB?

Before we get into the meat of things, let's talk about UVA and UVB rays. What you need to understand first is that both are UV rays which are harmful to our skin.

UVB rays are responsible for causing our skin to turn red and burn, while UVA rays cause the bulk of damage to our skin’s genes. They penetrate through clouds and windows, and are found approximately 500 times more in the makeup of the sun's rays.

While we are talking about the sun rays, we still highly recommend that you wear sunscreen indoors, especially if you work or stay near windows. UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin even when you're not outdoors since they can seep through windows.

SPF - What is it?

If you've ever clapped eyes on a sunscreen bottle, then you've surely come across the term SPF. We have a general understanding of what it does, but what does it really mean?

The number of the SPF in your sunscreen is a measurement of how long your skin is going to be protected against sun damage. This is when you use the product correctly, as opposed to when you don't apply sunscreen. Any SPF between SPF 30 – 50 is sufficient and anything less is not enough. There is no reason to find high factors more than 50 because the level of protection you get will not really differ. Here’s why:

SPF Factor

Percent (%) of UV rays blocked







 There is also a false belief that sunscreens can give you ALL-DAY protection, especially with higher SPF numbers. This causes a lot of people to not re-apply their sunscreen during the day - which is a big no-no. Also, sunscreens with higher SPF will expose your skin to a higher amount of active ingredients than necessary.

🍑PEACH TIP! We recommend using sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to minimise the risk of sun damage.🍑

PA in Sunscreens: What It Means

Another common label on sunscreens is the PA. The PA is a measurement of protection that you get against UVA rays. The pluses indicate its hierarchy: the more pluses, the higher the protection. These ratings are correlated to PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening), which refers to how long it takes for our skin to tan when using the product compared to not using it at all.

PA rating

UVA Protection provided




Between 2 and 4

PA ++


Between 4 and 8

PA +++


Between 8 and 16

PA ++++

Extremely High

16 or higher

How Sunscreen Labels Help You - Peaches&Creme K-beauty Skincare

How do sunscreen labels help you?

With proper research and understanding, you get a better grasp on what sunscreen fits your skin's needs and your lifestyle. Pick a sunscreen with an SPF between 30-50 with a PA rating or a broad spectrum label, and with a texture, feel, and scent that you like.

Wear sunscreen everyday, no matter what the weather is outside, even if you think you’re only exposed to the sun for a few minutes. Everyone should enjoy what they use on their skin - and at the same time - get the utmost benefits from the products they are using.

Take a peek and shop our Sunscreen Collection HERE.

Have a bright and happy summer, Peaches! ☀️😎

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