Understanding the active ingredients in sunscreen is a bit like learning a foreign language that uses a different alphabet. Suffice it to say in short that sunscreens are made up of a combination of two types of ingredients: those that reflect ultraviolet (UV) rays and those that absorb UV rays. Although that might sound simple enough, there are also two types of rays: UVA rays and UVB rays. UVB causes sunburn at the outer layers of skin, but UVA causes sun damage that reach deeper layers of skin. Both UVA and UVB radiation can contribute to the development of skin cancer.

Helioplex is the trademarked name for a combination of avobenzone (a UVA absorbing filters that degrades after a few hours in the sun) and oxybenzone (a very good UVB absorber with limited UVA absorbency). The manufacturer of Helioplex claims that it not only stops the avobenzone from degrading, but it also boosts its UV filtering capability. Helioplex is not waterproof. Keep in mind that a sunscreen’s Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a gauge of how well the formula protects the skin from UVB rays. It does not gauge protection from UVA rays.

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