What SPF To Use And What’s The Difference?

What SPF To Use And What’s The Difference?

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! SPF (sun protection factor) measures the protection from UVB rays – the rays that cause sunburn and contribute to skin cancer. Choosing an SPF can be confusing because there are so many different options, so we have written this guide on what SPF to use and what the differences are between them all.

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

As you can see, an SPF 30 will block half the radiation that an SPF 15 would let through to your skin. However, between an SPF 30 and SPF 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!

An SPF 50 will give you 50x the sun protection of what your skin naturally provides so a smaller amount of damaging UVB rays are able to penetrate and damage your skin than lower SPFs. 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!

Most dermatologists recommend using an SPF between 30 and 50.

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.

As mentioned above, 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.

To combat this, look for sun creams that offer broad spectrum or full-spectrum protection, which protects you from both. You can adopt other protective habits too to build on your SPF protection, such as staying in the shade, avoiding the sun during peak hours and wearing protective clothing!

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.

Use Future Proof as an after sun to soothe and nourish dry skin.

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Writer and expert