We see it in our lotions, make-up, and even in some clothing. But what exactly does the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) indicate, and how can you determine the best level for you?
This SPF checklist will keep you smart and sassy in the sun.
❑ Look for SPF 15+:
The SPF number measures the amount of time that you are protected from the sun’s rays, not the level of protection. So SPF 15 protects you from burning for 15 times longer than you would without it. According to the American Melanoma Foundation, an SPF of 2 will absorb about 50% of ultraviolet radiation, an SPF of 15 absorbs about 93%, 30 absorbs 97% and 50 about 98%.
❑ Use “Broad Spectrum” Sunscreen:
This protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Some sunscreens only protect against the UVB or sunburn causing rays and not the UVA or melanoma causing rays.
❑ Choose Water Resistant:
If you’re a water baby, water-resistant sunblock maintains the SPF level after 40-minutes of water immersion, while “very water-resistant” sunblock maintains the SPF level after 80 minutes of water immersion. Plan accordingly.
❑ Apply Properly:
Apply sunscreen 15 - 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply after water contact or sweating and about every 2 hours.
❑ Don’t Skimp:
The average person needs about 1 ounce (a shot glass) of sunscreen to cover their body, so apply liberally. Don’t reserve use for hot, sunny days only — you can be exposed to harmful rays in windy, cloudy and cold weather.