November 16, 2021

What does SPF Stand For: What is SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and tells customersthe extent to which sunscreen protects them from UVB rays. The sun emits two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays are longer wavelengths associated with skin aging. They make up 95% of the UV rays that reach the Earth's surface. Since they have a longer wavelength, they penetrate through clouds and glass. UVA rays are more consistent than UVB rays year round. 

UVB rays have shorter wavelengths that are associated with sunburns. Again, an SPF value only specifies how much UVB protection you get. If you want full protection from both UVA and UVB rays, you need to look for a sunscreen labeled"Broad Spectrum". If you only protect yourself from UVB rays, you can still damage the DNA in your skin cells, which leads to genetic defects that cause skin cancer.

 

What SPF Should I Use: How Much SPF Do You Need?

In order to get quality protection from UVA and UVB rays, you should use anSPF of 30 or 50 that is labeled "Broad Spectrum". The FDA recommends an SPF of 15 or higher, however, most dermatologists, the American Academy of Dermatology, and the Skin Cancer Foundation advocate for using sunscreens rated SPF 30 or higher. A sunscreen with SPF of 15 might be enough as a daily use sunscreen but if you plan on spending time in the sun you will want to use SPF 30. 

If you want an SPF 30 sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays, check out our products here at TropicSport. Our products are chemical free, eco-friendly, and reef-safe! They protect you from the sun, without damaging our environment:

What Does SPF 30 Mean?

A sunscreen labeled SPF 30 means the minimal dose of UV light required to redden skin was 30 times greater when the sunscreen was applied versus when it wasn't. That means, when SPF 30 is used correctly it would take 30 times more sun exposure to burn you than if you weren't wearing sunscreen. 

How Does SPF Work?

Knowing how SPF works is the best way to make an educated decision about what SPF sunscreen is best for you. Let's look at the protection you get at three common SPF values: 15, 30, and 50. A sunscreen with SPF 15, will protect you from 93% of the sun's UVB rays. At SPF 30, a sunscreen will block 97% of the sun's UVB rays. For a sunscreen with SPF 50, you will be protected from 98% of the sun's UVB rays.

Is Higher SPF Better?

A higher SPF will offer greater protection to a certain point. As you can tell from the numbers above, the amount of protection from an SPF 15 versus an SPF 30 sunscreen is 4%. Double the SPF is not double the protection! As you go from an SPF 30 to SPF 50 sunscreen, you only get 1% more protection from all the UVB rays. Beyond SPF 50, the increase in protection from UVB rays is negligible. This is why our highest SPF rating is SPF 50. 

In fact, sunscreens labeled with an SPF number of 50+ give users a false sense of security leading people to think they are invincible from the sun's damaging rays! They will not apply enough, not reapply often, and stay out in the sun longer. They are over trusting products that only have slightly more protection than anSPF 30 sunscreen, greatly increasing the chance of getting burned by UVB rays.

What is the Highest SPF Sunscreen?

Some sunscreen companies label their products as 100+ SPF. This does not mean it blocks 100 percent of the sun. This type of labeling misleads customers into thinking they are getting a massive increase in protection. The truth is, no sunscreen can completely block 100% of the sun's rays. That is why the FDA does not allow sunscreen companies to label their products as "sunblock".

Is SPF 15 or 30 Enough?

While the FDA claims that SPF 15 is enough, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends you use at least an SPF 30 sunscreen. That increased protection of 4% makes a world of difference when you are in the sun.In terms of UVB exposure, compared to SPF 30, SPF 15 will allow exposure to over 50% more UVB radiation (7% vs 3%). That is why our minimum SPF rating at TropicSport is SPF 30.  

How Long Does SPF 30 and 50 Last?

The effective duration of a sunscreen depends on the quality of the formula rather than the SPF rating. TropicSport, for example, has passed the Australian 240 minute water resistance test.Regardless of what SPF you are using,we recommend that you reapply every two hours and more often when swimming, sweatingor drying off with a towel. 

SPF 30 vs. 50: What Is the Difference Between SPF 30 and 50?

The main difference between SPF 30 and 50 is that SPF 50 blocks 98% of the sun's UVB rays and SPF 30 blocks 97% of the sun's UVB rays. If the sunscreen is labeled as broad spectrum it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. If you are more susceptible to burning, choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will give you the added protection you need. 

Regardless of which SPF you use, we want to make sure that you use your sunscreen correctly. Here are some tips to help you avoid a sunburn with our mineral sunscreen:

  • Use SPF of 30 or higher
  • Apply at least one ounce (a shot glass worth) of sunscreen for your whole body, including a nickel sized glob for your face. 
  • Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside
  • Reapply every 2 hours or more if you are swimming/sweating
  • Limit time under the sun during peak UV hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
  • Use clothing as an added layer of protection against the sun
  • Stay in the shade as much as possible
  • Don't forget your ears, feet, lips, and scalp!

What SPF is Best: What SPF is Recommended?

The best SPF depends on what activities you have planned for the day. If you plan on being outside for a large portion of the day you want to have the most protection possible.We have found that TropicSport SPF 30 works under all conditions, but for our longest sessions in the harshest sun, we will choose SPF 50 for added protection.

What SPF Sunscreen Should You Use To Exercise Outside

What SPF Sunscreen Should You Use To Exercise Outside?

The best SPF sunscreen to use when exercising outside is going to be a sweat and water resistant sunscreen that has an SPF rating of at least30. We highly recommend using our SPF 50 sunscreen that will give you extreme sun protection in the toughest of environments.

Our sunscreens meet the FDA's 80 minute and the Australian 240 minute water resistance tests. It is designed to stay on your skin in the harshest of conditions. Not to mention its formulated with the only two ingredients generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) by the FDA. It is chemical free and friendly for you, your skin, and the environment. Check out our products here:

How much SPF for face

How Much SPF For My Face?

Your face is the same as the rest of your body - you should still use at least SPF 30. As for how much sunscreen to use for your face, you should reserve a nickel size dollop, 1/3 teaspoon, or 0.04 oz to be exact! This amount of sunscreen will adequately cover your face and ensure you match the FDA's recommended coverage of 2 milligrams per square centimeter.

The skin on your face is one of the most sensitive areas of skin on your body. It also happens to be exposed to the sun more so than any other part on your body. Not to mention aging effects on the face are much more noticeable than any other part of your body. This makes it a very important asset to protect. 

If you ever have a burning sensation on your face while apply sunscreen, it is probably because you are using a chemical sunscreen. These chemical UV blockers make sensitive skin burn, itch, and sting. For that sensitive skin, a mineral/physical sunscreen is often the cure. Instead of absorbing into your skin and bloodstrem like chemical sunscreens, a mineral sunscreen sits on top of your skin reflecting the sun's damaging rays. 

TropicSport's mineral sunscreens are made with non-nano Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, they are chemical free, and perfect for your sensitive skin. One of the biggest complaints with mineral sunscreens is that they leave a white mask, but not ours. It rubs on clear and has a lightweight feel.If TropicSport leaves you looking white, you have likely used too much. Check them out for yourself!

Can You Wear SPF to Bed?

Yes you can wear SPF to bed, it will not harm you. However, you don't benefit from having it on either. Moisturizers with SPF are generally more expensive than those without. Since you don't get a real benefit from wearing SPF while sleeping, its best to save yourself some money! If you have a moisturizer with SPF, save that for the day and use amoisturizer without SPF at night. 

What Does the SPF Number Mean [Scientifically]?

The FDA has outlined a method on specific labeling requirements for sunscreens regarding SPF. In their Code of Federal Regulations, SPF is calculated by the minimal erythema dose protected (MEDp) divided by the minimal erythema dose unprotected (MEDu). The MED is the minimal dose of UV light that creates a reddening of the skin. So, SPF is how much UV light it takes to get sunburned with sunscreen divided by how much UV light it takes to get sunburned without sunscreen. 

The test requires at least 10 valid participants whom are each tested with 5 different doses of UV light each on a different area of their back. After the initial exposure, participants cover the tested area until they are inspected for reddening. 16 to 24 hours after initial UV exposure, test subjects are inspected with at least 450 lux of illumination! It's a very detailed process, and if you are more interested check out their methodshere!

Why is SPF Important?

SPF labeling is important because it allows consumers to understand what their sunscreen is going to do for them. Without it, customers wouldn't know how different sunscreens compare to each other. A company could claim it protects you against 95% of UV rays, but you wouldn't know unless you tested it yourself. Since SPF labels are regulated by the FDA they are something that customers can put trust and value into. Saving you from having to test it yourself!

I hope that after reading this article, you now understand all the ins and outs of SPF. If you have any questions regarding our products please contact us.

 

 

Jack Herrmann
Jack Herrmann


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