It's no secret that wearing sunscreen is an essential part of your skincare routine, but it can also be a confusing task to figure out what SPF level you should be using.
With all the different skin types, formulas, and sun protection factors available on the market (not to mention all the conflicting advice!) choosing the right sunscreen for your needs might seem more like rocket science than taking care of yourself!
If you’re a sun worshiper who has yet to find the perfect SPF. Wonder no more! In this blog post, we will explore everything you need to know about SPF and how to pick a sunblock that fits your complexion so you can look after yourself while having fun in the sun!
WTH does SPF stand for?
SPF always makes me think of Something Perpetually Frustrating. But in reality, all it stands for is Sun Protection Factor, which is essentially a measure of the level of protection provided by sunscreen and other sun protection products.
Contrary to popular belief, SPF doesn't actually mean you can stay in the sun forever - it's just telling you how long you're able to extend your skin's natural protection from UVA and UVB rays.
SPF is used to rate sunscreens, ranging from mild protection of 10 all the way up to a hardcore 100. It's like sunscreen manufacturers are in competition to see who can shout the loudest at those pesky ultraviolet light.
Does SPF matter or is it just a scam?
Sun protection factors can be the bane of any skincare rookie's existence, especially when they force us to apply several layers of gloop before going out. But is it all just a scam? Not according to any dermatologist worth their sunscreen stash – SPF matters. Not only will regularly applying sunscreen with sufficiently high SPF keep you from getting a nasty burn and potentially damaging your skin but it has been scientifically proven to reduce your risk of skin cancer, too.
So, does SPF matter? Of course, it is - it's the single most important feature of sunscreen. Sure, it may be easy to get distracted by all of the different fun and exciting smells and colors certain sunscreens come in, but at the end of the day, SPF is king.
You can't put a price on your skin, and without the right SPF protection you're basically putting your epidermis up for sale. Don't let those UV rays fry your skin like an egg - make sure you find a sunscreen that offers the right protection because it really is essential to keeping you and your skin in good shape. Ultimately, a high SPF number equals low damage done, which means fewer premature wrinkles and better beach time.
How much SPF do you need?
Sun protection isn't a joking matter, but you don't need to be a total stick-in-the-mud either. Here is everything you need to know:
SPF Ratings: The higher the better?
Is higher spf really better when it comes to sunscreen? Not necessarily – SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and indicates how well the sunscreen will protect you from harmful UVB rays. Any SPF above 50 doesn't provide a significantly increased protective shield when compared with SPF 50.
The effectiveness of SPF (sun protection factor) ratings can help protect your skin from the sun's UV rays, but it's important to understand what SPF values actually measure. Specifically, SPF measures the amount of UVB rays that are being blocked. Here is how it works:
A sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 blocks approximately 93% of UVB rays. Additionally, it means that the sunscreen will give you 15 times more protection than the one you would normally have if you were under the sun with exposed skin.
SPF 30 sunscreen is one of the most popular sun protection products available. It has been shown to block approximately 97% of the harmful UVB rays that reach the earth, which is a significant portion of UV radiation.
Many sunscreen labels will have specific percentages listed for UVB blockage, but typically, SPF 30 offers a sufficient level of protection for all skin types.
- Face Blur Smoothing SPF 33 PA ++ - Corrector, primer, and sunscreen all at once.
SPF 50 is a type of sunscreen that has been highly recommended by dermatologists, especially during the summer. But just how much protection does SPF 50 provide? It's important to know this before applying sun protective measures. Research shows that SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays from the sun. This means it can reduce the amount of damaging UVB radiation that reaches your skin significantly.
- Solarbiome™ Primer SPF50+ PA++++ - Super Powerful UV and blue light protection.
SPF 30 vs 50
SPF 30 and SPF 50 are two popular sun protection factors (SPFs) used in sunscreen products to protect against UVA and UVB rays. While both can help fight against the harmful effects of sun exposure, there are a few differences.
SPF 30 filters 97% of UVB radiation and is best for everyday use, offering medium protection from the sun's ultraviolet rays. On the other hand, people that are longer under the sun or live in high altitudes, choose SPF 50 as it blocks 98% of UVB radiation, giving higher levels of protection that’s better suited for extended outdoor activities or in sunny climates.
All in all, the difference between spf 30 and 50 is a 1% of UVB rays blockage.
Can SPF protect you against UVA rays?
Although SPF is designed to protect your skin against UVB rays, which are the cause of sunburns and skin cancer, there is a type of sunscreen called “broad spectrum sunscreen.”
Broad spectrum sunscreen defends against both UVA and UVB rays, the two main culprits behind skin damage, and should be used when severe exposure to the sun is expected. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time outside, make sure to research a broad spectrum sunscreen that will provide superior protection against these pesky rays!
Types of sunscreen available
1. Chemical sunscreens
Chemical sunscreens are a unique and essential form of sun protection that can save you from any harm the sun's rays may cause. This type of sunscreen contains ingredients such as oxybenzone and avobenzone to absorb UV radiation, which helps lower your risk of sunburns and long-term skin damage.
Unlike physical sunscreen that works by sitting on top of the skin to block or scatter rays, chemical sunscreen actually penetrates the skin to absorb these pesky UV rays. Moreover, these products tend to be more light weight and easily absorbed into the skin, making them perfect for using on all day outings.
However, they’re not pregnancy or breastfeeding safe and tend to be too irritating for those with sensitive skin. Also, they’re not clean, since they’re made of chemicals.
2. Physical sunscreens
Physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, employ natural minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to create a physical barrier on the skin’s surface that reflects UV radiation before it can penetrate deep into the dermis. What’s more, they are reef-safe, making them an incredibly eco-friendly choice!
Although it may seem intimidating to use a product that literally creates a coating on your skin, many physical sunscreens are surprisingly lightweight and non-greasy —so you don’t have to worry about looking like a ghostly flashback from the ‘80s.
- Soon Jung Mild Defence Sun Cream - Must-have hypoallergenic goodie for sensitive skin.
So, how does sunscreen protect your skin?
We all know sunscreen can protect skin against the harmful UV rays that would, otherwise, cause a lot of skin problems. But, how does it do it? Well, it depends!
As you may have read above, chemical and physical sunscreen offer different types of protection. While chemical sunscreen protects your skin by absorbing the sun rays, physical sunscreens work like a superhero shield that doesn’t allow the rays to penetrate your skin.
No matter what type of sunscreen you choose, you’ll be well protected!
Why wearing sunscreen is a must?
It's a no-brainer: wear sunscreen! We may not be under the sun 24/7, you may even be a vampire wannabe that never leaves the house, but there is no excuse to not use sunscreen.
First of all, even though UVB rays are mostly blocked when you’re indoors, which means that there’s less risk of getting burned, 50% of UVA rays can still penetrate through window glass and keep causing damage to your complexion. Moreover, even if you live in a windowless room, the blue light that comes out of electronic devices can also cause skin aging.
All in all, apart from being just good common sense and a nod to basic safety, wearing sunscreen can also have added benefits - such as reducing the risk of cancer, premature skin aging and sunburns.
But, what if I have dark skin? Do I still have to use sunscreen?
When it comes to sunscreen and dark skin, the answer most certainly is yes! You may not be as susceptible to sunburns as people with lighter skin, but that doesn't mean you're immune to the harmful effects of the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage to your skin no matter what your skin tone is, so it's important to always protect yourself when you're outdoors.
How much sunscreen to use on face?
Knowing how much sunscreen to use on your face can be a tricky endeavor. After all, no one likes the feeling of piling on thick, greasy layers and ending up with a ghostly white face!
The best rule of thumb is to think of your face as two separate parts; your forehead and nose get their own teaspoon-sized dollop of sunscreen and the rest of your face should get another. When it comes to sunscreen application, more isn't always better — do too much and you risk the dreaded white cast (which could last for days!)
- Artless Glow Base SPF 50+ PA+++ - No whitecast and the perfect glow!
Sunscreen tips you should always bear in mind
- If you’re going to be exposed to the sun for a long period of time, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours to ensure your skin is protected.
- If you’re at the beach or pool, a water resistant formula with broad spectrum coverage sunscreen will be your best bet. If you can’t find this type of sunscreen, reapply sunscreen immediately after getting out of the water to avoid damaging your skin cells and getting sunburned.
- Additionally, it’s recommended to wear protective clothing if you’re exposed to the sun for a long time to add an extra layer of protection.
- Don’t forget to seek shade
- On an everyday basis, at least an SPF 30 is enough to keep your skin protected from UV exposure.
- If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, check the sunscreen ingredients for avobenzone, oxybenzone, octisalate, homosalate and octocrylene as these ingredients are not safe for you
- Dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen at least once a day during your morning skincare routine if you’re not getting exposed to the sun. If you’re swimming or sweating, a second application is needed.
- Spray sunscreen on your skin even on cloudy days. Even though there’s no visible light, UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds and harm your skin.
Where to find the best sunscreens?
With so many sunscreen products on the market, finding the one that's right for you can be tricky. Do you need a mineral sunscreen? An SPF of 30 or 50? We’ve got your back!
In Asian Beauty Essentials you’ll find the best sunscreens for your skin type and SPF needs. Now that you know the answer to “What SPF should I use?”, visit our sunscreen collections and put your newly gained knowledge to work!
Let us know if you have any questions and don’t forget to stay tuned for our weekly skincare blogs!