What Does SPF Mean?
Do you wonder what ‘SPF’ on your sunscreen bottle means? What does SPF measure and why should you care?
SPF sounds short and simple, but the reality is a little more complicated.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and you most often see it in front of a number, such as SPF 30 and SPF 50 on a bottle of sunscreen.
Don't know the difference? Check out this blog.
Now you might wonder, does SPF really matter? Here are 10 crucial things you need to know about SPF to help you make informed decisions about sun protection.
What is SPF, and How Does It Work?
SPF measures the level of protection a sunscreen offers against the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. The higher the SPF number, the greater the protection. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen filters about 97% of UVB rays, while an SPF 50 sunscreen filters around 98%.
SPF and UVB Rays: What's the Connection?
UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburns and contribute to skin cancer development. SPF in sunscreens mainly protects against UVB rays by absorbing and reflecting these harmful rays away from the skin.
Remember, there is no such thing as a safe tan! If skin darkens from UV exposure, it's a sign of skin cells in trauma, even if there is no redness or peeling.
Skin darkens as a way of trying to protect itself because the UV rays are damaging living cells. If you tan easily, you are still at risk of skin cancer and need to use sun protection.
Don't Forget UVA Protection
While SPF focuses on UVB protection, it's crucial to safeguard your skin from UVA rays too. These rays can prematurely age your skin and also play a role in skin cancer development.
Look for "broad-spectrum" sunscreens that shield against both UVA and UVB rays. All KINeSYS Sunscreens are Broad Spectrum.
Apply (and Reapply) Sunscreen Generously
Many people make the mistake of applying too little sunscreen, which diminishes its effectiveness.
Reapplying throughout the day is crucial.
To get the level of protection specified on the product, use a generous amount and reapply every two hours or more frequently if you're swimming or sweating.
SPF in Makeup is Not Enough!
Some makeup products boast a minimal amount of SPF. While any added protection is better than none, relying solely on makeup for sun protection is inadequate.
You'd need to apply a thick layer of makeup to achieve the stated SPF level, which is unrealistic. KINeSYS Spray Sunscreens are oil-free and clear so they can be used under or over your makeup to help keep your face protected.
Sunscreen is Not Just for the Beach
Sunscreen should be a part of your daily routine, not just when you're hitting the beach or pool. UV rays are present even on cloudy days and can penetrate windows, exposing your skin to damage.
Did you know most skin damage is from incidental sun exposure; that's doing the things you do everyday - walking the dog, hanging up the washing or gardening?
Different Skin Types Require Different SPF
The right SPF for you depends on your skin type and how easily it burns. Fair-skinned individuals with light hair are generally more prone to sunburn and should opt for higher SPFs.
However, regardless of skin type, dermatologists and cancer societies all agree that you should use at least SPF 30.
Check the Expiration Date
Sunscreen has a shelf life, typically around three years. Using an expired product reduces its effectiveness, so always check the expiration date before applying. Expired product should not be used.
Sunscreen Alone Isn't Enough
While sunscreen is a crucial element of sun protection, it is your last line of defence and should be part of a broader strategy.
Seek shade during peak sun hours, wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and wide-brimmed hats for extra protection.
Spending time in the sun can dehydrate your skin. Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep you and your skin healthy.
In answer to the question, "Does SPF matter?" – the answer is a resounding yes!
SPF is a fundamental tool in safeguarding your skin from harmful UV rays. Whether you're heading to the beach, going for a hike, or simply running errands, don't forget to apply sunscreen with adequate SPF and reapply regularly.
Sun protection is not just about avoiding painful sunburns; it's about protecting yourself from the long-term risks of skin cancer and premature aging. Take care of your skin, stay sun-safe, and enjoy the summer responsibly!