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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Staying beautifully healthy this summer: Importance of SPF

It's that time of the year when the great waves of the beach are calling us. And before we go on exposing ourselves to the damaging effects of UV rays this summer, it is important to be a little more protective of our skin. The easiest way to do this? Sunscreen. The magic behind it? SPF.

What is SPF?
There are a number of ways to define what SPF or Sun Protection Factor means. But the best way that made me understood the concept is through this: A sunscreen's SPF is obtained by testing the product on sun-sensitive people by first acquiring the amount of UV rays it takes for them to burn WITHOUT the sunscreen. Then they do this test again, this time, recording the amount it takes for them to burn WITH the sunscreen on. The WITH sunscreen number is divided by the WITHOUT sunscreen number and, voila! You have the SPF.

Wanna know how long you can stay under the sun with a certain sunscreen? This simple equation will help you know:

This means that if you burn as fast as 4 minutes without the sunscreen and you used one with an SPF 30, then you can only stay as long as 120 minutes. But don't forget, there are other factors that can change this number. One example is when you go swimming where water can wash away your sunscreen, leaving some spots to be vulnerable to the sun. It is important to reapply sunscreen every two hours, less if you go in the water.

The higher, the better, right?

Yes and no (but a little more of the yes). Why? It is proven that the higher the SPF, the more UVB rays will be filtered out; SPF 15 blocks out 93% of the rays while SPF 30 filters out 97%. The increase in these numbers, however, is not as high after that; 98% for SPF 50 and 99% for SPF 100. It is important, therefore, to note that super high SPFs are not much more protective than the smaller ones.

click on image for source

So before you go out and strap on that sexiest bikini you have, never forget to take care of your shield from the outside world--your skin! After all, the under the sun is doubled when you know you're well protected.

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