SPF Facts and Myths
Does SPF 30 offer me twice as much protection as SPF 15?
It was thought that double the number meant double the protection from the sun. This is not the case. An SPF 30+ sunscreen blocks out approximately 97% of the sun’s UV rays. An SPF 15 sunscreen blocks about 93% of the suns UV rays. A common misconception is that SPF 30 protects twice as much as an SPF15 – that is not the case. Unfortunately, no sunscreen can protect you against 100% of the sun’s rays so it is important to always use a broad spectrum sunscreen and apply it liberally and frequently.
What does Broad Spectrum mean?
A broad spectrum sunscreen offers protection from both the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Broad spectrum sunscreens help protect your skin from the ageing effects of the sun, as well as the burning effects. If a sunscreen is broad spectrum it will be clearly marked broad spectrum.
What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
The sunlight that hits the earth’s atmosphere is made up of two different types of rays which affect your skin in different ways. UVA rays are the longer rays and UVB rays are the shorter rays.UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn and most skin cancers. They can generally be blocked by window glass. UVA rays can pass through window glass and are associated with skin ageing. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the base layer of the skin so even if you’re not getting burnt, you’re still likely to be ageing your skin, causing a depletion of collagen and upsetting your skin’s pigment.
I’m in the office all day so do I really need sunscreen?
As mentioned, UVA rays travel through glass so you’re still being affected on the way to work in the car, as well as through the office windows. We’d always suggest wearing sunscreen, everyday.
What about on overcast days?
Clouds do not protect you from the sun either. The sun will reflect off many things like water or even concrete. It doesn’t matter if you picnic under the biggest tree you can find, the UV rays are still hitting you. Even on cloudy days, it’s important to always wear sunscreen.
I use a foundation with an SPF isn’t that enough?
Not really, no. SPF needs to be applied liberally over the skin so your skin is protected. The SPF in your foundation is a nice bonus but it might not be broad spectrum and you’re probably not layering it over your face, neck and decolletage in a thick layer to really create protection.
What’s Water Resistance?
A sunscreen’s water resistance measurement is based on the product’s ability to maintain its SPF protection after a period of water exposure this is measured in hours. There is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. It’s true that some sunscreens are made to hold up better when exposed to water, but it is important to reapply any sunscreen you are using even if it says water resistant.