‘Secret’ code on your sun cream bottle you need to know this summer

With some countries in Europe reaching well over 40 degrees, wearing SPF is more important than ever this summer.

Britons who are abroad have braced for extreme temperatures of up to 48 degrees in some areas including Greece, Italy and Spain.

With that in mind, it’s important to be always be careful of UV rays.

When picking your sun cream, often consumers go for the best value options, however, some of the high street brands typically purchased, are some of the lowest for UVA ratings.

Here's how to understand the star rating before making a purchase:

The star rating ranges from one to five stars, with five stars indicating the highest level of UVA protection.

The star rating system complements the widely recognised SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and emphasises the importance of comprehensive sun protection.

Burak Ersoy, Founder of Badge Clinic, explained the significance of the star rating on your sun cream bottles:

"The star rating system acts as an essential complement to SPF, as it focuses specifically on UVA protection. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin and are responsible for long-term damage, such as premature ageing and skin cancer.

"Understanding the star rating empowers consumers to make informed choices and select sun creams that provide adequate UVA protection for their specific needs.

"As the summer season reaches its peak, this newfound knowledge couldn't come at a better time. I encourage consumers to flip their sun cream bottles and take note of the star rating, which should enable them to make more informed decisions about their sun protection regimen.

"By prioritising both SPF and the star rating, individuals can ensure comprehensive protection against both UVB and UVA rays, shielding their skin from the detrimental effects of sun exposure.”

Burak Ersoy continued on the importance of wearing sun cream and what else you should look out for:

“It's crucial to choose a broad-spectrum sun cream with an appropriate SPF level for your skin type. Regular application, especially when spending time outdoors, can significantly reduce the risk of sunburn, skin cancer, and premature ageing. If you want to ensure you have the best sun cream, look out for the following ingredients:

Physical Blockers

Look for physical blockers like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients form a protective barrier on the skin's surface, reflecting and scattering UV rays.

Chemical Filters

Chemical filters such as avobenzone, octinoxate, or oxybenzone help to absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat. These ingredients work by interacting with the skin to provide sun protection.


Some sun creams contain antioxidants like vitamin E, green tea extract, or niacinamide. These ingredients help neutralise harmful free radicals generated by UV exposure, reducing skin damage.

Skin Soothing Ingredients

Look for ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or cucumber extract, which can help soothe and moisturise the skin, counteracting the potential drying effects of some sun creams.

Fragrance-Free or Hypoallergenic Options

If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, consider choosing fragrance-free or hypoallergenic sun creams to minimise the risk of irritation.

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