Does a higher SPF sunscreen guarantee a better UV protection?

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 08 October 2018, 12:12 AM
Does a higher SPF sunscreen guarantee a better UV protection? (Photo: Twitter)
Does a higher SPF sunscreen guarantee a better UV protection? (Photo: Twitter)

With sun light and harmful UV rays taking a toll on your skin, applying sunscreen has become more than just a daily skin care routine but a necessity. Sunscreen not only protects you from the sun but also reduce the damage of the skin from the harmful ultra violet rays. It is crucial to know that sunburn is just an immediate effect, the real damage occurs in the later part of your life.

So, while you are shopping for a sunscreen with a higher SPF, know some deciding factors that’ll help you choose the right product:

Before grabbing the one with a higher SPF, it is crucial to know the shade of your skin. The dark skin pigment called melanin produces special skin cells called melanocytes to protect the body from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. And higher levels of melanin mean lesser sunburn and lesser risk of skin cancer. Hence, people with lighter skin usually tend to tan faster than dusky beauties!

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Experts say that, if your skin starts to turn red fast when you are in the sun, it is time to get a higher SPF. Having said that, there are also various other factors to look into than just your skin tone.
Apart from determining your skin tone, one raising concern to look into is the acceptance of the false security that the higher the SPF number, the less frequently people tend to apply and reapply the sunscreen. The fact remains that even with a higher SPF, you need to reapply your sunscreen after a certain interval to avoid getting sunburns. 

What number SPF should one use?
How much protection does the SPF numbers actually give you when you are outdoors? The answer lies in how long you are out in the sun. According to an analogy by skin experts, they say that SPF 30 will not give you twice as much protection as SPF 15 unlike the popular belief. It will give you 92% while SPF 34 will give you 97% of UV rays protection. In conclusion, there isn’t a stark difference to the effect of protection with a higher SPF.

So, the harsh reality is no matter how high the sun protection factor (SPF) of your sunscreen, there is no 100% protection from the UV rays. What is important is applying enough sunscreen and but more importantly reapplying it again before it gets washed off by sweat, water or clothes. Experts suggest that an SPF between 30 to 50 is an ideal number.

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Additionally, you can also add other protection factors such as a broad-brimmed hat with protective clothing, sunglasses and seeking shade when outdoors in between 10 am to 4 pm.

First Published: Sunday, October 07, 2018 05:43 PM
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