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21st Apr 2023

Here’s what you should know when it comes to SPF

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Summer is just around the corner.

Summer is only around the corner and with the weather hitting highs of nearly 20 degrees this weekend, we’ve done a deep dive into everything you need to know when it comes to your sunscreen.

We all know the different factors you can get, and the endless different brands to choose from, but what difference does factor 50 make compared to factor 20?

And do you get less protection from a cheaper brand? Well look no further, we’ve got you covered.

It’s recommended that once the sun is out, you should be wearing sunscreen, no matter the time of year. And when it comes to picking which one’s best, always read the label first.

When looking for a sunscreen, look for one with “broad spectrum” on the label. This means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

According to the American Cancer Society, all sunscreen products protect against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancers. But UVA rays are what cause premature ageing, as well as skin cancer.

If you opt for a sunscreen without this on the label, it should have the warning to say that it only protects against sunburn and not skin cancer or ageing.

When it comes to what factor to go for, it’s highly recommended to go for 30 or higher. This is the level of protection you get and as you go up the scale, the more protection you get.

SPF 15 protects the skin against around 93% UVB rays, when this is brought up to SPF 30, it rises to 97%, with SPF 50 it’s 98% and SPF 100 is around 99%.

So that rumour about SPF 50 not being any better, debunk it.

It’s also important to note that water resistant and waterproof are two different things. Sunscreen isn’t water or sweat-proof, if a sunscreen claims to be “water resistant”, it must also specify for how long.

Usually, this is between 40 and 80 minutes, so it is always advised to reapply every two hours, regardless if you got wet or not.

Sunscreen also tends to rub off if you towel dry yourself, so always reapply after doing this. The Irish Cancer Society says to apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside.

So when you’re looking for sunscreen, there’s no need to splash out too much with it. Once you look out for these signs and wear enough of it, you should be good to get as much vitamin D as you need.

Also, always store your sunscreen in a dry, cool spot away from direct sunlight, in a spot less than 30 degrees.

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