Anti-Aging Sunscreen Cheat Sheet# 6

#6. SPF — This is the big Kahuna of sunscreen terms.  Seeing   “SPF”  on a package gives  you confidence in a product- maybe too much confidence.

Here’s how it works:  SPF stands for “sun protection factor”.  An SPF 15 means that you can stay in the sun 15X longer without burning.  If you start burning after 10 minutes  of sun exposure, then a 15 SPF  means you can spend 10 x 15 =150 minutes in the sun without burning.   But this sounds better than it is.

Many factors affect how much sun protection you actually have in real time– how much you use, if you’re near water or sands which reflects light,  as well as heat, humidity and time of year.  To me the most interesting things I learned is an SPF 30 is not twice  as good a 15 SPF.  Who knew?

I think that the best way to view an SPF is as proof that this product has actually been tested  and has shown to offer an acceptable level of sun protection.   Most doctors recommend an SPF 30 as a minimum for daily facial  and body use.  If you are spending at least  an hour outside in the sun, this rises to an 40-50 SPF.  The  jusy is still out on how well  higher ( 60-100 SPF) deliver.

Finally keep in mind that sunscreens  are not cumulative.  For example, if you use a moisturizer with a 15 SPF and a 15 SPF  foundation,your acting SPF is still 15, not 30.  Your total  SPF  is only as high as your highest SPF. For more information on sunscreens, click on 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic on my blogroll.  This beauty blog has currently is posting a great series on sunscreens including reviews  of specific  suncare products.   

Let the summer games begin.

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