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The SPF Half Truth You Must Know!

posted by lissa

“I got a sunburn and I wore SPF 30 sunscreen. I don’t get it.”

That’s a frequent complaint from sun-loving clients that also want to protect their skin.

So what’s going on here? Did your SPF let you down? The problem is that SPF’s are greatly misunderstood. We expect a whole lot from this sun protector, but we aren’t willing to give much in return!

It all starts with this:

The SPF number indicates the amount of time you can stay in the sun without burning versus how long you could stay in the sun without sunscreen and without burning.

For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen allows you to stay outside 30 times longer than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. But that’s only half of the truth!

What’s not commonly understood is the “Maximum Erythema Dose,” which simply means the point at which your skin flushes slightly pink while exposed to UV rays.

Obviously, it’s different for everyone. Very fair skinned people may start to pink up after 10 minutes in the sun. Darker skin complexions may take up to an hour.

Here’s a look at how the formula works for both skin types:

Fair Skin: SPF 30 x 10 minutes= 300 sun safe minutes

Darker Skin: SPF 30 x 60 minutes=900 sun safe minutes

The catch? Sweating, swimming, and rubbing off the sunscreen! For each of these, cut the sun protection factor in HALF.

Your sunscreen does work but you must re-apply frequently, preferably every 2 hours. Better yet, get out of the sun until tomorrow!

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