Choosing the Best Sunscreen! Which SPF is Right for You?
Sunscreen is one of the most needed cosmetic products one should have with them as it helps prevent the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from reaching the skin. SPF stands for sun protection factor and is the measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin.
Its believed that sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB, however the numbers do not indicate how much time you can spend in the sun without getting sunburned. It actually means that if it takes 30 minutes for your unprotected skin to start getting red, using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 should protect your skin 15 times longer. A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 has the capacity to filter out 93% of all incoming UVB rays. Similarly 97% of incoming UVB rays can be kept out by a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and 98% by SPF 50. While the differences might seem to be negligible, it can make a huge difference if someone has a history of skin cancer or if you are light-sensitive. No sunscreen is capable of blocking all UV rays.
Many people are not sure if they should use sunscreen, or which one. A sunscreen should be used daily by everyone over the age of six months. Everyone is exposed to ultraviolet radiation for some period of the day, even those who work inside. If someone works near windows, they need to use sunscreen as windows generally filter out UVB but not UVA rays.
Its important to know which SPF is right for you. The SPF you choose should depend on how much time you spend in the sun, sunscreens with higher SPF block more rays and enable the user to spend more time outside.
Assuming you are at sea level with no prior tan and you need to decide which SPF you should use, you already know your skin will start burning after about 15 minutes of sun exposure. The SPF you should choose will depend on the time you expect to spend in the sun. If you plan to be in the sun for an hour, you need protection for the remaining 45 minutes. In this case you can choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 4 which give your skin that extra protection for those remaining 45 minutes and is capable of screening out 75% of UVB rays. (75% of an hour that you plan to spend in the sun = 45 minutes of block)
A simple way one can use to determine the SPF to be used is by dividing the time a person expects to be in the sun by the amount of time it takes to start burning.
In this case your skin would have received only 25% of the UVB rays by using SPF 4. Any more sun would lead to sunburn, you can start with a higher SPF to get more protection.