A Pharmacist's Take On Sunscreen: What Does SPF Stand For and What Protection Do You Need?
By: Jay Plavnick
What is the definition of SPF in suntan products? SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, defines how well a sunscreen will protect skin against harmful ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. The kind of radiation that causes sunburn, damages skin, and can contribute to skin cancer1.
Here is how SPF rating works2:
Suntan lotions with an SPF in the range of 6 to 14 provide low protection.
Suntan lotions with an SPF in the range of 15 to 29 provide medium protection.
Suntan lotions with an SPF in the range of 30 to 50 provide the highest, or best possible protection.
A good rule of thumb is for every 10 minutes in the sun x the SPF=the amount of minutes you will receive protection against the sun.
For example, if your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes, which would be about 15 times longer3.
It is important to know what type of skin type you have and how susceptible you are to sunburn and skin cancer. That is always an important factor in determining how much protection you need and which sunscreen to purchase.
For good sun protection, stay out of the sun during the hottest time of the day.
I also recommend wearing the following:
1. A good hat
2. A lightweight long sleeve shirt
3. Sunglasses to protect the eyes while in the sun.
Enjoy the beautiful summer we are having, but be sure to apply liberal amounts of sunscreen at regular intervals. This is vital to avoid a bad burn from the sun.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.
1. Badger sunscreen https://www.badgerbalm.com/s-30-what-is-spf-sunscreen-sun-protection-factor.aspx
2. British Association of dermatologist http://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/skin-cancer/sunscreen-fact-sheet
3. Badger sunscreen https://www.badgerbalm.com/s-30-what-is-spf-sunscreen-sun-protection-factor.aspx