Let's get to know our SPF's and what they really do for our skin.

What is the best SPF protection available?

Is a 50 SPF better than a 30 SPF?

What do SPF's actually protect?

Did you know that the SPF rating refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which cause sunburns, but not UVA rays, which are more closely linked to deeper skin damage?

Both UVA and UVB contribute to skin cancer. The SPF rating is a measure of the time it would take you to sunburn if you were not wearing sunscreen as opposed to the time it would take with sunscreen on. So logically we would think that a SPF 30 would give us twice as much protection as a SPF 15. But not so!    

umbrella sun

SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays;

SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays

SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays      

Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block slightly more UVB rays, but none offers 100% protection. We as the consumer think that a 70% SPF is great, fantastic even, but this SPF rating just lulls us into a false sense of protection. If you buy a 70% SPF product, you have 0 protection from UVA  the rays that age our skin. You may not burn, but the damage to the structure of your skin still occurs. This is why regulatory bodies in Europe and Australia have adopted UVA testing guidelines and measurement standards, and capped the SPF of sunscreens at 50+.The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may do the same, but hasn't to date. In addition to an SPF of 30+, your sunscreen should include some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide. Sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection may be labelled:

Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block slightly more UVB rays, but none offers 100% protection. We as the consumer think that a 70% SPF is great, fantastic even, but this SPF rating just lulls us into a false sense of protection. If you buy a 70% SPF product, you have 0 protection from UVA, the rays that age our skin. You may not burn, but the damage to the structure of your skin still occurs. This is why regulatory bodies in Europe and Australia have adopted UVA testing guidelines and measurement standards, and capped the SPF of sunscreens at 50+. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may do the same, but hasn'™t to date. In addition to an SPF of 30+, your sunscreen should include some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide. Sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection may be labelled:

In addition to an SPF of 30+, your sunscreen should include some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide. Sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection may be labelled: multi spectrum, broad spectrum, or UVA/UVB protection. Remember there is no greater protection than being sun savvy. Try to stay out of the direct sunlight for prolonged periods in the middle of the day, wear

Remember there is no greater protection than being sun savvy. Try to stay out of the direct sunlight for prolonged periods in the middle of the day, wear hat, good mineral broad spectrum sunscreen and seek shade where possible.

To answer our questions at the beginning: What is the best SPF protection available? A mineral SPF that contains either Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide will protect you from both UVA AND UVB.

If you are swimming, use a water resistant sunscreen, otherwise day to day I use mineral sunscreen only, with no chemical ingredients. Below are some eg's of mineral only sunscreens, healthy for you, healthy for skin.

Is a 50 SPF better than a 30 SPF? With a difference of only 4% in extra UVB protection, you still need to be just as sun savvy as a SPF 30.

shade

What do SPF's actually protect? They protect our skin from UVB rays. They do not protect from UVA rays (these are the rays that age our skin, break down collagen and weaken our capillary walls) Here are some examples of a good mineral broad spectrum sunscreen. Please note that mineral only sunscreens are to be reapplied after swimming as they are not water resistant.                         

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Happy Skin Days, Sarah Wilkinson

 

References http://www.webmd.com/beauty/sun/high-spf-sunscreens-are-they-better http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/ask-the-experts/does-a-higher-spf-sunscreen-always-protect-your-skin-better