If you’ve spent as much time by the pool this summer as we hope you have, you’ve probably been slathering on the sunscreen to keep from burning and exposing your skin to the harmful rays of the sun that can cause serious damage to your skin and DNA. As a team that spends a lot of time outside doing swimming pool renovations, we all know sunscreen is a thing we need to keep us safe in the summer, but few of us know what it’s really all about. So today we’re breaking it down with our SPF facts. That way, next time you pick up the bottle, you have just a little more knowledge about exactly how you’re being protected. Who doesn’t love that?
What’s SPF All About?
Understanding what SPF really is and does can help you decide which number on the bottle is the best fit for you. There’s a whole lot of science behind it, but what it really boils down to is this: SPF is a measure of how many UVA rays (the ones that do the damage) are getting to your skin. The number itself – 15, 30, 50, etc. is a measurement of time, but not in the way something. SPF 15 does keep your skin safe for longer than 15 minutes, after all. What it means is this – if it would normally take you 20 minutes to burn without sun protection, SPF 15 makes it take 15 times longer. SPF 30 makes it take 30 times longer, etc.
Does Higher Really Matter?
Furthermore, SPF 30 only allows 3% of UVA rays through, while SPF 50 only lets 2% of UVA rays in. That may not seem like much of a difference, but before you go grabbing the 30 instead of the 50 consider that a 1% difference at that level is 50% less UVA rays being let into your skin. So, in short, according to SPF facts, it does matter. However, there are still dangers of opting for the higher SPF without considering your plans for the day.
Don’t “Set it and Forget it”
The problem with people opting for higher SPF is that they often use it as an excuse to never reapply, and are frequently spending longer periods of time outside in the sun. If you’re going to opt for a higher SPF, which is recommended in terms of actual sun protection, it’s important to remember not to “set it and forget it.” Bring the bottle with you and reapply at least every 90 minutes, potentially more frequently if you’re in the water or sweating a lot (depending on the formula).
There you have it! A quick little primer to help you understand more about SPF and what it does to protect you and how it protects you. There are still plenty of pool days left in the year, so make sure you’re sunscreened up next time you head out to enjoy some waterside time in the summer heat.