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Summer Skin Care Tips: What’s the Deal with SPF sunscreen?

Updated on August 30, 2012

You might have read about SPF on your sunscreen bottle, but do you really know what this means? There is more than just the abbreviation and the number that goes along with it. And if you want to make the most out of the benefits, it is important that you know what SPF is and what it can really do for you.

SPF stands for sun protection factor, and this refers to a product’s ability to protect the skin against harmful rays of the sun, such as UVA or UVB. Although we can reap a handful of benefits when we get some sunshine to hit our skin, but too much can be highly detrimental. This is especially true for light-skinned individuals. In fact one million cases are diagnosed in the United States alone each year.

An SPF indicates how long you are protected for when out in the sun. For instance, if you have a sunscreen that has SPF 15, this means that you can stay outdoors under the heat of the sun 15 times longer.

The number on your sunscreen is not proportional to the amount of protection that you get. A sun block lotion that has SPF 2 means that it absorbs 50% of the harmful ultraviolet radiation; SPF 15 absorbs 93% while SPF 34 can protect as much as 97%. It doesn’t mean that SPF 30 can give you twice as much as SPF 15, when you use the product right, it can give you the extensive amount of protection that it was supposed to give, and in reality there isn’t really much difference between the two.

The FDA requires sunscreen producers to indicate the SPF that their product contains. Unfortunately for some products the SPF that they have may only be applicable to UVB rays, but there are also other companies that formulate a sunscreen that is also able to protect against UVA. That is why when shopping for sun block lotion, make sure that it is specified that it contains “broad spectrum” protection.

The reason why broad spectrum sunscreen is important is because these have the ability to protect against the deep penetrating UVA, therefore preventing wrinkles and premature aging.

Dermatologists recommend that a product with SPF15 can be used all year long as protection for all skin types. But if yours is a skin that is sensitive to sunburns, it is best to put on something that has a higher SPF.

There are some make-ups that are already formulated with SPF, but you should know that this Is not enough to give you the protection that you need. You still need a good sunscreen base before applying the makeup.

It is also important that you know that expires sunscreen lotions are no longer as effective because their SPF is diminished.

The sun can be very damaging to the skin as it is able to cause dark spots, lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, larger pores. So as a basic skin care regimen, make sure that you protect your skin daily with a good sunscreen, and also see to it that you choose and apply it right. With that, you can remove a few years off your face.


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