Understanding SPF: How Does Sunscreen Protect Your Skin?
When it comes to protecting your skin, using a moisturiser, primer, or foundation with a minimum SPF 30 (or layering all three for even better protection) is crucial for maintaining healthier and younger-looking skin.
Understanding SPF Factor
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating indicates the level of UVB protection provided by a product when applied generously and evenly to the skin. However, it’s important to note that SPF doesn’t directly measure UVA protection. For comprehensive UVA and UVB protection, look for sunscreens labelled as “Broad Spectrum.”
How Does Sunscreen Provide Protection?
The science behind how SPF works is fascinating, albeit complex due to various factors. But before diving into that, let’s explore UVA and UVB rays.
UVA vs. UVB: What’s the Difference?
The sun emits invisible ultraviolet radiation that damages the skin when left unprotected, regardless of whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or rainy. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays penetrate deep into the skin, damaging crucial supportive substances and causing premature aging. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays affect the skin’s surface, causing visible sunburn and contributing to skin cell abnormalities and skin cancer.
SPF Calculation and Ratings
SPF ratings, although helpful, have limitations because the testing conditions differ from real-world situations. The SPF rating indicates the level of UVB protection a product provides when generously applied. For example:
- SPF 15 shields against 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 blocks nearly 97%
- SPF 50 blocks 98%
- SPF 100 blocks 99%
While higher SPF ratings offer increased protection, it’s essential to note that the difference in protection diminishes as the SPF rating increases. Additionally, very high SPF ratings may increase the potential for skin sensitivities. Experimenting with products like our Bright Start SPF 30, which offers a blend of synthetic UVA and UVB filters, can help you find the best sunscreen for your face.
Duration of SPF Protection
Determining how long a specific SPF will last isn’t straightforward. SPF ratings account for both time and exposure, taking into consideration factors such as UVB intensity, cloud cover, latitude, season, and proximity to reflective surfaces. Consequently, the effectiveness of sunscreen varies based on the intensity of solar energy and exposure conditions.
Choosing the Right SPF
Selecting the appropriate SPF for your skin depends on how quickly your skin reacts to UV light without protection. If your skin usually changes color after 10 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen, using SPF 30 provides approximately five hours of protection. Remember to reapply sunscreen regularly, as all UV filters degrade over time.
Enhancing Sun Protection
To further enhance the effectiveness of your chosen SPF, consider incorporating antioxidant-rich products into your routine. Ingredients like fruit extract, found in our Bright Start SPF 30, can help reduce the visible effects of sun exposure.
In summary, opt for higher SPF ratings, preferably SPF 30 or above, when spending extended periods outdoors or during peak sun intensity. Reapply sunscreen every two hours to ensure continued protection.