With spring and summer now here, you’re probably itching to go outside and play in the sun! Remember to put on sunscreen as part of your skincare routine, and to reapply if you’re going outside and going to be in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
You may be wondering though, there are lots and lots of different kinds of sunscreen out there. What SPF should you use? Which sunscreen is best for you?
Sometimes we forget to put on sunscreen, but the more often we can put it on, the better off we’ll be. Sun exposure can cause not only sunburn, which can lead to sun poisoning, but it can also cause damage to your skin which can look like or include dark spots, blotchy areas, or other unsightly places on your skin. Lastly, too much sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The idea is, the greater the number, the more protection is offered to you. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen will allow 1/30th of the sun’s rays to get through, offering you 97% protection against the sun.
Just because a higher number might appear better doesn’t mean you should lather on the most SPF you can find. While SPF 50 is great, the protection amount over SPF 30 is incremental. SPF 50 protects against 98% of rays, and it can sometimes be hard to find.
What should I use?
SPF will depend on how fair your skin is and how easy you burn. The FDA specifically warns against using anything under SPF 15 as it will not protect you against aging from sun rays (sun damage) or skin cancer. Therefor, anything SPF 15 or higher should be your go-to. Check out this great chart that can help you make a decision based on your skin tone: