SPF – The Protection Shield, many of us do not know about the SPF and its benefits. The location and area where we stay along with the skin type we have defines the usage of the SPF and its amount. The ideal SPF to be applied safely is considered between 15 – 30. SPF saves us from the UVA and UVB rays of the sun that harm the skin and also penetrate into the inner layers causing damage permanent or temporary.
You must have heard of the acronym SPF aka Sun Protection Factor a lot in the makeup videos, skincare videos, or in general. If you are wondering what these three alphabets mean, here’s all you need to know about it. SPF is a measure of how efficiently your sunscreen can protect your skin from UVB rays. These are the kind of radiations that threaten to damage the outer layer of the skin and causes sunburns, skin problems, and in an adverse situation, it can also cause cancer. Thus, SPF acts as a protective shield against the sun on your skin against UVB rays.
Kinds of rays
Ultraviolet rays can be categorized into two parts: UVA and UVB
UVA rays are long enough to penetrate deep into the skin’s dermal layer causing long-term damage like aging and wrinkles. This layer is where all the cells that stimulate darkening are found. This is why UVA rays are considered the dominant rays that cause tanning.
UVB rays, on the other hand, are shorter so they do not penetrate deep into the skin. However, they burn the outer layer of your skin causing immediate damage like skin burns. The distribution and intensity of the UVB rays vary throughout the day and according to the location.
It is a cream-based formula that protects your skin from the damaging rays of the sun. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides the most protection against UVA and UVB rays. However, no sunscreen can assure 100% protection from the UVB rays, no matter how high the SPF value of the product is. If you use a sunscreen with SPF 15, it will block 93% of the sun and SPF 30 will block 97% of the sun. The protection increases from 98% for SPF 50 and 99% for SPF 100. The SPF number denotes the approx. minutes it allows you to stay in the sun without getting burned. For example, SPF 15 means you can stay for 150 minutes in the sun without getting your skin burned.
Tips to save yourself from the sun
- One ounce of sunscreen which is equivalent to a shot glass is the ideal amount to be applied for an average body size
- Try to spread the sunscreen uniformly on every part of the body
- Don’t just rely on sunscreen, use other measures like hats, sunglasses or a cloth to cover yourself from direct contact of the sun
- It is best to avoid going out during the peak hour when the sun is high i.e. from 10 AM to 4 PM
How much SPF is too much?
In an ideal world, SPF 15 is considered mild protection, it is perfect for ones who rarely expose themselves to the sun. SPF 15-30 is considered moderate protection which is ideal for ones who occasionally expose themselves to the sun and rarely step-out during the peak sun hours. Whereas any protection digit above SPF 30 is considered high protection, if you can’t stay locked in and must always be on-the-go then you must choose a higher SPF protection.
However, SPF 30 is an ideal protection one must carry in the sun and must reapply frequently. But not every skin is the same, and one must choose the right sunscreen depending on the type of skin. Most experts believe that in a world that we live in, no sunscreen is expected to work for more than 2 hours.
Products with SPF
Every day different brands are coming up with new trends that promise to solve all your skin problems. But the truth is SPF is the real savior, as most skin problems are caused due to exposure to the sun. If your daily skin products include SPF, then you are saved from wrinkles, dark spots, and more. Here is a list of a few daily skin products that must include SPF:
Dermatologist recommended sunscreen
As every skin type is different and the amount of sun exposure varies from person to person, you must consult a dermatologist for a sunscreen that suits your skin the best. Sunscreen should be the first layer on your skin and should always be worn before stepping out.
Foundation or BB cream with SPF
A little SPF in everything is never bad. Always buy a foundation or a BB/CC cream with SPF. It ensures every layer on your skin is SPF protected and hence, makes it harder for the UVA and UVB rays to seep in.
Lip balm and lipstick with SPF
Your lips are equally prone to the harmful UV rays of the sun. Therefore, it is important to protect them with a coat of lip balm or lipstick enriched with SPF.
The SPF amount in every product should be in accordance to the location, thus it is always recommended to keep checking on the products that you are buying and applying on your skin, for the Indian skin SPF 15- 30 is most recommended yet consult from your dermatologist, as he/she will be able to give you the best and recommend a product easily available to your skin type.