I feel like SPF is the ultimate false security. I think people grab a 100 SPF lather some on at 7AM and then after 8 hours in a bikini in the sun wonder how in the world they are sun burned. I hear it all the time “and I used 100 proof sunblock and still burned”. Sunscreen should only be used in areas that can’t be covered with clothes. If you happen to be a math person or a visual person then follow this “sun protective clothing >sun screen”. Then you have to pick a good sunscreen which is daunting. Even I just buy what we have at Johnson Dermatology because I don’t want to search that overwhelming aisle at Wal-Mart. SPF stands for sun protection factor. It’s a confusing thing knowing exactly what it means but here is my best attempt at explaining it to you.
SPF refers to the amount of UVB (UV-burn)only. That’s right, it has nothing to do with UVA (UV-aging, think wrinkling and sunspots) which is why you need to make sure you are getting a broad-spectrum sunscreen (think titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in the ingredients).
SPF 15 filter out 93% UVB, SPF 30 filter out 97%UVB, SPF 50 filters out 98% UVB and SPF 100 filters out 99%UVB. None are 100%. That’s why we say at least 30 SPF because after that they are pretty close together.
The number after SPF is the amount of UV rays it takes someone to burn with the sunscreen divided by the amount of rays it takes them to burn without the sunscreen and the result is then rounded to the nearest 5. It’s not exact, no one has the exact same skin tone. It just isn’t as simple as SPF last this long or that long. Wouldn’t that be so much more user friendly? I mean why don’t we just say all sunscreens last 2 hours then you need to re-apply and be done with it America? ( #NinaforPresident )The American Academy of Dermatology recommends reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours regardless of which SPF.
Other factors weigh in too like sunscreen rubbing off, getting washed off with sweat or water and all the other things that make anything you rub on your skin not stay like you would love it to. Think of your lipstick. It naturally wears off without you rubbing it off, right? This is why you should reapply every 2 hours when outdoors, more frequently if in water activities.
Bottom line, get a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher and reapply every 2 hours to skin that can’t be covered by clothes.
It’s still Skin Cancer Awareness month which means we are still running a special on our BOB (my entire families favorite sunscreen) which is the brush on powder sunscreen. If you buy one in the month of May at Johnson Dermatology you get a free refill!
Come get in on all the sun protective fun at JD this Summer!
Stay hip, stay with it, stay skintastic, Nina