Sun Cream SPF Numbers And Why They Are Important

Sun Cream SPF Numbers And Why They Are Important

Sun Protection Factor or SPF for short, is known measure of how well sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays, the type of radiation that causes sunburn. UVB rays can damage your skin and contribute to skin cancer, therefore it’s important you use sun cream that has UVB protection.

What Do The SPF Numbers Mean?

Let’s say it’s a warm summers day and you venture outside without any sun cream, it may take 15 minutes before your skin starts to burn. If you apply a factor 30 sun cream, you could stay in the sun for 30x longer ( 15 minutes x factor 30 = 450 minutes).

Now this is only a rough estimate and there are many variables here including your skin type, intensity of sunlight, time of day and amount of sunscreen used. It’s important to not use this as guidance to determine how long you should stay out in the sunshine.

SPF scale is not linear:

  • SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays

If you apply factor 50 sun cream your skin is only exposed to 2% of UVB rays, that’s why it is the most popular type of childrens sun cream.

Girl with sun cream on her back sat by a pool

What About UVA?

Also known as ultraviolet A, these wavelengths are known to cause early skin aging and skin cancer, so it’s very important that your sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection. A good quality sun cream will have a UVA to UVB ratio of around 1/3. Here’s an example:

SPF 50+ usually means the SPF is around 60, therefore a good UVA protection factor (UVA-PF) would be 20.

Sun cream bottle on an orange background

Should I Use Factor 100?

Factor 100 sounds brilliant from a marketing point of view, but in reality only offers around 1% of extra protection than a factor 50 sun cream.

It would also require a minimum UVA-PF rating of 33 for broad spectrum protection. Anything below this and you could be at risk of using a sun cream with a UVA/UVB imbalance.

This is why you don’t often see factor 100 in the shops, a factor 50+ sun cream offers all of the protection you need.

Where To Buy Sun Cream

Most people in the UK tend buy their sun cream from the supermarkets like Asda, Boots or Superdrug. However as more people continue to shop online, suppliers just like us can provide sun cream to the market at great prices.

As temperatures across the UK soared in 2022 our great value Sun Cream was extremely popular, we provided thousands of bottles to Care Homes and Nurseries across the UK. So if you're looking for the best sun cream, why not give us a try.

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