Skin Care

What is SPF in Sunscreen? – Understanding SPF 30, SPF 55, and SPF 70

When shopping for skincare products, many often ask which SPF sunscreen is best for their skin type. Current market having various SPF levels, many have challenges choosing the ideal sunscreen for their skin types. This article provides sunscreen SPF meaning while comparing its levels. Introduction Everybody loves spending time outdoors during summer. Relaxing by the poolside while sipping your

When shopping for skincare products, many often ask which SPF sunscreen is best for their skin type. Current market having various SPF levels, many have challenges choosing the ideal sunscreen for their skin types. This article provides sunscreen SPF meaning while comparing its levels.

Introduction

Everybody loves spending time outdoors during summer. Relaxing by the poolside while sipping your favorite cocktail, sunbathing during vacation, and having brunch on a café terrace is fun. However, your skin needs protection against harmful sun rays. Sunscreen is a skin care product with ingredients that block or absorb UV rays before they penetrate and damage the skin. The current market has various SPF levels. So, what is SPF, and why does it matter?

You might also like: Understanding Sunscreen- Everything You Need to Know

What is SPF in Sunscreen?

SPF is an abbreviation for Sun Protection Factor. It’s the measure of a sunscreen’s effectiveness in protecting the skin from getting sunburn. SPF measures how well the cream protects your skin from getting sunburns. It determines the UV radiation amount it takes the sun to burn sunscreen-protected skin. The higher the sunscreen’s SPF, the more time you can spend in the sun after applying it without getting sunburns from the UVB rays.

The SPF number is crucial because it tells you the amount of UVB light a sunscreen filters out. The difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 sunscreens is the amount of UVB light they can filter. Scientifically, an SPF 50 sunscreen can filter 93% of UVB rays. However, your skin may require extra protection, depending on your exposure to the sun’s rays. Hence, you can prefer sunscreen with a high SPF, such as 30, 50, or 70.

SPF measures sunscreen effectiveness against sunburn. Higher SPF means more time in the sun without burning. SPF 50 filters 93% of UVB rays. Choose SPF based on sun exposure for personalized protection.

What Does the SPF Number Mean?

The number indicates the duration the sun may take to burn your skin after applying sunscreen correctly, compared to when you skip it. For instance, if you get sunburns after 10 minutes without sun protection, you’ll spend about 5 hours without sunburns if you apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30. That’s because 10×30 equals 300 minutes. However, this calculation is just an estimate, since the risk of sunburn depends on several factors, including the time of the day and the weather.

All About UV Rays

The sun causes up to 80% of premature skin aging. Therefore, protecting your skin against harmful rays is crucial, regardless of how much you love spending time in the sun. Whether you choose SPF 30 or SPF 70 sunscreen for face, ensure it provides broad-spectrum protection. That means it safeguards your skin from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays can penetrate the clouds, glass windows, and the skin to cause aging signs, such as wrinkles and fine lines. Hence, a broad-spectrum UV protection can keep them off and provides youthful skin.

UVB rays are responsible for sunburns. Therefore, applying a sunscreen that protects your skin against UVB rays is vital, especially in higher altitudes where the atmosphere is thinner to filter more rays out.

Choose SPF 30 or SPF 70 sunscreen for broad-spectrum protection against premature aging, preventing wrinkles and sunburns, and ensuring lasting youthfulness by warding off UVA and UVB rays.

What Level of SPF Do You Need?

Choosing from SPF 30 vs 50 vs 70 can be challenging when buying sunscreen. Here’s how to pick the ideal level of SPF for your skin type.

SPF 30 Sunscreen

An SPF 30 sunscreen blocks 97% of UVB rays. Thus, it lets about 3% of UVB rays hit the skin. It’s ideal for outdoor activities, and adults of all skin colors and ages can use it. However, it may not provide better SPF protection or broad-spectrum coverage under some conditions or at the ordinary consumer level. Hence, you may need sunscreen with a higher SPF.

Ideal for Outdoor Activities: With its effective UVB shielding, SPF 30 sunscreen is well-suited for various outdoor pursuits, offering a defense against sunrays.

SPF 55 Sunscreen

Maybe you’re wondering, is SPF 50 good for my skin? A sunscreen with an SPF of 50 and above may provide broad-spectrum protection against UVB and UVA rays. That means it protects the skin against UVB rays better than SPF 30 sunscreen, blocking more than 98% of these harmful rays. It’s suitable for outdoor activities, including swimming and toweling, which expose you to continuous sun. Also, it’s ideal for inhibiting aging signs, neutralizing photodamage, preventing dryness, and soothing redness due to sun exposure. However, it may cause a whitish or gray appearance on the skin.

SPF 70 Sunscreen

Besides filtering up to 99% of UV rays, a sunscreen with an SPF of 70 has additional clinical benefits. It’s ideal when you want to protect your skin against photodamage and skin cancer. Even when you apply it at a low density, this sunscreen can protect your skin significantly. However, there’s very little difference in protection level with SPF higher than 50.

Also, some SPF higher than 50 give a false security sense. Additionally, higher SPF may have higher concentrations of the chemicals that filter UV rays, which can affect sensitive skin. Hence, applying this sunscreen may trigger allergic reactions, damage tissue, or disrupt hormones.  

You might also like: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHOOSING THE RIGHT SUNSCREEN

Difference Between SPF 30 vs 55 vs 70 Sunscreen

The level of protection against UV rays is the primary difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 or 70 sunscreen. A SPF of 30 fends off about 97% of UVB rays. SPF of 55 fends off more than 98% of UV rays, while an SPF 70 sunscreen can fend off up to 99% of UVB rays.

You might also like: Sunscreen Gel Vs Creams: Which One Should You Pick?

Choosing the Right SPF for Your Skin Type

Your preferred level of protection against UVB rays should help you when torn between SPF 30 vs 50. Always remember that the SPF 30 and SPF 50 difference is the protection levels the sunscreen can provide. Moreover, your skin type should help you choose since some sunscreens with higher SPF have higher concentrations of the chemicals that filter UV rays, which can affect sensitive skin negatively.

1. SUNSCREEN MATTE FINISH SPF 55 PA+

2. SUNSCREEN MATTE FINISH – SPF 35 PA+

3. WOW SKIN SCIENCE BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN SPRAY SPF 50


4. UV WATER TRANSPARENT SUNSCREEN SPRAY SPF 30

5. ANTI POLLUTION SPF40 WATER RESISTANT NO PARABENS


6. HYDRATING SUNSCREEN SPF 50 PA+++ MATTE FINISH FOR ALL SKIN TYPES

7. SUNSCREEN GEL FOR ALL SKIN TYPES | SPF 55 PA+

8. SUNSCREEN GEL FOR OILY & ACNE PRONE SKIN

9. SUNSCREEN GEL FOR DRY SKIN | SPF 50 PA++++


Garima Singh

Garima Singh

Garima Singh is someone who likes to go by the title of a passionate and formally educated formulator. It's quite a story how she stumbled into the realm of chemicals about a decade ago, and it turned out to be her true calling. Over the years, Garima has had the privilege of contributing her expertise to some beloved brands in our country. What truly drives her is the belief in delivering effective and authentic products to consumers. At the moment, Garima is at the helm of product development at Wow Skin Science. It's an exciting role, and she's deeply committed to bringing innovative products to the market.