(HealthyResearch.com) – No matter what we’re doing outdoors or what time of year we’re doing it, protection from the sun’s harmful rays is an absolute necessity. There are so many products to choose from that making good choices may become confusing. Does high SPF offer more protection? Learn more about the best sun protection practices in the full article below.
What is SPF And What Does It Mean?
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is specifically the measure of a product’s ability to protect skin from UVB radiation. In theory, if skin reddens in 1 minute without any protection, then using a product with SPF 15 should keep skin from reddening for 15 times as long.
All sunscreen manufactured in the US has an SPF number on the label. But how much of the sun’s UVB rays does each SPF rating actually block? According to the American Cancer Society:
- SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
- SPF 100 blocks 99% of UVB rays
The differences in percentages don’t seem large. The thing to remember is how long our exposure time to those powerful UV rays might be.
Higher SPF Means More Protection — With Caveats
The higher the SPF, the more protected the skin has from the sun. But there are some things we have to do to ensure sunscreens and other products with high SPF factors give us the protection we’re seeking.
First, we have to be careful to apply the product on all skin likely to be exposed to the sun, including tops of feet, ears, necks, lips, eyelids and scalp. Second, we have to reapply after swimming, excessive sweating or every two hours (whichever comes first).
And finally, try not to rely on sunscreens and products with SPF alone for protection. Intentionally seeking out and spending extended time in direct sunlight without access to shade or protective clothing might leave us with more damaged skin because it’s possible to rely too heavily on a high SPF product instead of taking a break in the shade. In addition, be sure to protect the eyes and consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
It is always best to choose the highest SPF possible, keeping in mind that in order for protection to be most effective, sunscreen needs to be used as directed. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection. As long as we do our part in protecting our skin, we should be able to have fun in the sun without long-term consequences.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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