DO you know the ABCs of UV rays? While many people know that UVB and UVC are responsible for sunburn, the effects of UVA are largely undocumented.

The sun’s UVA rays are now known to be an important factor in premature ageing and some skin cancers – yet according to a recent Newspoll survey, many Australians are unaware that UVA even exists. This is a concerning statistic considering we are exposed to UVA rays every time we are in the sun.

There is a far greater quantity of UVA than UVB in sunlight. UVA is present whenever the sun is out and generates free radicals, which may lead to skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin causing the destruction of collagen and elastin, which causes skin to sag, accelerating the ageing process.

When looking for sunscreen we all know that a high SPF level provides a high level of UVA protection.

The star rating system used on sunscreen packaging indicates the level of UVA protection relative to the SPF protection. Four stars signifies the maximum level of UVA within this rating system.

While broad spectrum sunscreens have long been available, `broad spectrum’ protection claims only to provide assurance of the minimum UVA protection, as required by the Australian Standard.

When you’re at the beach this summer, think melanoma with a capital `A’ and don’t become another Australian skin cancer statistic.