What do the SPF factors mean?


SPF stands for sun protection factor and is a measure of how long a sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays that cause sunburn. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30, for example, means it takes 30 times longer for your skin to get burnt by the sun than when no sunscreen is applied. The higher the SPF, therefore, the longer the sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun.

Although SPF is a helpful measure to determine how well a sunscreen will protect your skin, it shouldn’t be the only factor one takes into account. Your skin type, age and how you apply the sunscreen can make a big difference in how well your skin is protected. SPF also only takes into account how well a sunscreen protects your skin from UVB rays, so it’s important to purchase one with broad-spectrum protection to account for UVA rays as well.

Regardless of the SPF, sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before going into the sun and reapplied every 2 hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating. One can’t rely on high SPFs alone and should still seek shade, wear protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses to ensure your skin receives maximum protection from the harmful effects of the sun.

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