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Is This Really Twice The Sun Protection?

posted by Lissa Logan
Is This Really Twice The Sun Protection?

Is This Really Twice The Sun Protection?

Quick quiz!

If you wear sunscreen with 30 SPF, are you getting twice the protection than sunscreen with SPF 15?

The answer may surprise you: no.

The general assumption is the higher the SPF, the more protection you have. But that’s not how it works. An SPF of 30 filters out about 97% of UVB rays; SPF 15 filters out 93%.

The number on the sunscreen indicates how long you can safely stay in the sun without burning based on your Maximum Erythema Dose. That’s a scientific way of saying you need to know how long it takes for your unprotected skin to turn pink.

If you’re fair, it may only take 10 minutes. Multiply that by the SPF and you have the number of safe sun minutes.

10 minutes x SPF 30=300 safe sun minutes

But there is a catch. Sunscreen wears off with wind, sweat, (even the “waterproof ones) and towel drying. That means your safe sun minutes get cut in half.

It’s best to re-apply every 2 hours. Don’t forget to wear a hat and lightweight clothing for added protection!

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