What Is SPF?

With Summer around the corner, it’s important to prepare yourself for the warmer weather. Whilst you may be preoccupied with planning holidays and Summer wardrobe shopping, it’s important not to forget to stock up on your SPF!

But what is SPF? And which is best for you? Fear not, as we have written this handy guide on what SPF is, how it works and why applying it is so important. 

What Does SPF Mean?

SPF  is short for sun protection factor, and protects your skin from the sun’s radiation. Whether cloudy or bright, the sun emits two different types of radiation: UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays are the more penetrating out of the pair, this means that cells can be affected deeper in the skin. UVA rays can cause the skin to age prematurely, leading to visible effects such as wrinkles and are also linked to some skin cancers.

UVB rays on the other hand, are more likely to damage the outermost layers of the skin. These harmful rays can lead to sunburn if the skin is overexposed and can cause skin cancers.

How Does SPF Work?

SPF works by supporting and extending your skins natural defence against the sun’s rays. By creating a physical barrier between your skin and the rays, you’re much less likely to see and feel the effects of the radiation.

What SPF To Use?

Everyone’s skin tolerance to the sun’s rays differs – but it’s better to be safe than sorry! Basic rules to follow when deciding which to choose include:

  • Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This means that you’re protected from both UVA and UVB rays. Lots of SPFs generally only offer protection against UVB rays which are the rays that cause your skin to burn, meaning that you are still exposed to sun damage from UVA rays.
  • If in doubt: Go higher! It’s always better to choose a higher number in order to get as much protection as possible.
  • If you’re heading to the beach or chilling in a paddling pool, make sure you choose a water-resistant SPF so you can stay protected at all times.
  • Adopt other protective habits too to build on your protection, such as staying in the shade, avoiding the sun during peak hours and wearing protective clothing!

sun in blue sky

Why Is SPF So Important?

You’ve probably mastered your skincare routine to a fine art, right? Using cleansers, serums and moisturisers to get the ultimate glow. But, if you’re not wearing SPF everyday this sadly could all be for nothing! As mentioned UVA and UVB rays can both cause the skin to prematurely age and cause skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Prevention Association, using an SPF daily can reduce your risk of developing some kind of skin cancers by up to 50%!

What Does The SPF Number Mean?

The number of the SPF show’s how much protection it is providing to your skin:

  • SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB radiation
  • SPF 30 blocks nearly 97% of UVB radiation
  • SPF 50 blocks approximately 98% of UVB rays

To put it simply, an SPF 15 will protect the skin 15 times more than just your normal skin. An SPF 30 will double that protection and an SPF 50 will protect your normal skin, 50 times more. However, between 30 and 50 there is only a minute difference in the increase of protection. These differences may seem small, but over a lifetime it all adds up. If you have a history of skin cancer or are extra sensitive to sunlight, every little bit of protection helps!

It is important to remember to apply your SPF 50 as often as you would a lower SPF though, to ensure your skin is continuously protected throughout the day. Don’t take that extra protection for granted!

Going higher than SPF 50 can be counter-productive as people are misled into a false sense of security. Above SPF 50, the increase in protection is minimal and people are encouraged to neglect other protective habits such as seeking shade and wearing sun-protective clothing, so even if they don’t burn they can still get sun damage from UVA rays.

Higher SPV values such as 50+ do offer a safety net in the sense that consumers generally do not apply enough. In everyday life, most people only achieve approximately 1/3 of the labelled SPF value through not applying enough. It is recommended that you should use 2 milligrams per square centimetre of your skin.

A great way to help boost your tan without sitting in the sun all day is by body brushing, dry body brushing helps break up fat deposits and therefore stimulates blood flow, which in turn will help your skin contain moisture and capture a tan quickly. The Mio Dry Body Brush is ideal as it contains nodules as well as bristles to really help massage your skin. Savvy up on how to dry body brush effectively, here!

For an all-natural, healthy looking glow all year round without the use of sun rays, explore our Glow Getters range!

Are you in need of some calm? Explore our how the mio team uses our relaxing Liquid Yoga Space Spray, here!

Tilly Doody-Henshaw

Tilly Doody-Henshaw

Writer and expert

Alongside food, travel and writing, skincare is one of my greatest loves. I'm a self-confessed skincare junkie, and product hoarder! Luckily that means I'm ingredient savvy and confident I know what makes a fab skin care routine.

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