Understanding Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

When it comes to SPF many think that the higher the number the more protection. This is not the case. No matter the number you will receive the same protection. The higher the number, the longer you can stay in the sun without reapplying. So how then do you decide which SPF is right for you? First you want to ask yourself is how quickly you burn. People with lighter skin will burn quicker than those with darker skin.  If you are lighter you would want to chose a higher SPF so that you won’t have to constantly be reapplying.

The second thing you want to ask yourself if how long you will be planning to stay outside. The longer you stay outside the higher the SPF, the shorter the lower the SPF. Remember SPF is measured by time not amount of protection. Once you have figured out the SPF the is right for your skin and sun exposure, you may also want to think about what activities you will be doing outside. If you know that you will be in water or perspiring, you should opt out for a SPF that is waterproof. SPF products that are not waterproof need to be applied every time you get wet or perspire a lot.

Don’t forget, if you know that you have sensitive skin, look for a product that says it is made for sensitive skin. I would recommend the Avene or La Roche Posay SPF line for sensitive skin. Another thing to keep in mind is that you should never use a product that is made for your body on your face unless it says it is for your face. Your face is a lot more sensitive than your body as the skin is thinner and will absorb products more easily. Using a body product on your face may also lead to a reaction and may clog your pores. This is why when reading the label make sure it says it’s made for Face. My favourite face SPF face product is by RoC (SPF 30 they have one for normal skin and one for combination). It is great underneath your makeup as it absorbs very quickly and moisturizes. You can replace your moisturizer with it!

I know what you are thinking, you don’t want to spend the money on two products because let’s face it they can get pricey. You may want to look for a product that is for face and body, like Vichy. They have products for face and body in SPF 30, 45, 50 and 60! The 45 is especially good for children.  They are about $28, but if you think about it, if you were to buy a cheaper brand you would pay at least $12 each one for body and one for face. Why do that when you can have one product for both and most likely save some money in the end.

What should you do if you do get a sunburn? #1 would be to stay out of the sun because you don’t want to irritate your skin anymore. #2 Apply something that will sooth and moisturize with no fragrance such as Aloe Vera, (I have a plant at home and just crack open the leaf and use it!) or Manuka Honey. Manuka honey will help heal the burn as well as it sooth and moisturize. All you have to do is leave it on the skin for 10-15min and wash off with warm water. Both of these options can get sticky but your skin will be relieved!

I hope that this has helped you have a better understanding of SPF and stay protected from the suns harmful rays!

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me!


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