What does SPF stand for? Does anyone actually know? We throw the word around a lot, and even if you do know what the acronym stands for you probably still don't really know what factor you should be wearing.
FYI, SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Continue reading for the low down about everything you need to know to make sure your skin is protected this summer.
The SPF rating on your sunscreen refers only to UVB rays (short-wave ultraviolet B), not UVA (long-wave ultraviolet A) or UVC (short-ave ultraviolet C).
Let's put this in a metaphor, so UVB is the guy that broke your heart and cheated on you- basically, very bad, stay away. Burn me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me. Pun intended.
UVA is the guy who was't so obviously a douche, he was sly about it. UVA causes ageing and wrinkles, so they're not great either and you should definitely use protection when encountering them.
UVC is Russel Brand, or some other famous Lothario. The most dangerous of them all but luckily you won't be in contact with him. UVC are filtered by the Earth's atmosphere...phew.
The lowest factor the NHS recommend, the British Association of Dermatologists recommend a 30 as the minimum.
30 blocks 97% of UVB radiation, but most only apply 1/3rd of the amount on the label, so if you don't apply enough the protection will obviously be reduced.
This factor may limit your source of vitamin D but this can be avoided by getting it from other sources, like vitamins. If you burn easily, have a family history of skin cancer, have lots of moles or take an immunosuppressive drug then you should wear this factor.
You should apply your sunscreen 30 minuets before you head out in the sun, so all of you that apply your sunscreen at the beach aren't being as careful as you thought...
Suncream lasts 2-3 years, which shouldn't really matter because if you're applying the right amount (lots) then you'll get through a bottle much quicker than that.
Apply 2 teaspoons of suncream if you're just covering your head/arms/neck, and two tablespoons if your covering your entire body.
Don't stay in the sun between 11am-3pm, use it as an excuse to grab a cocktail and long lunch.
Be careful this summer, a tan may look nice but the consequences aren't if you're not being safe. Shop our edit down below for some great products with SPF in them...
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