It is a well-known fact that long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause long-lasting damage to your skin. Without adequate protection, you put your skin at risk of sunburn, discoloration, scarring, wrinkles and even skin cancer. This is why applying sunscreen is so critical year-round.

We’re sure you’ve heard about the importance of sunscreen, but many people don’t actually understand the science behind SPF and sunscreen. SPF, or sun protection factor, is essentially the measurement by which your sunscreen will reflect UVB rays off your skin. Read on to help you learn more about the role of SPF and select the right amount of protection for your skin.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for “sun protection factor” and is the degree to which your sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays from the sun. Your sunscreen works by reflecting and dissipating these radioactive rays off of your skin, shielding it from burns, wrinkles and other problems.

The scale of SPF is not as linear as it may seem. SPF 15 will block approximately 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks 97 percent and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. With each step up in the SPF scale, fewer photons can enter your skin and cause damage.

Extremely high SPF levels exist, such as SPF 75 or SPF 100, but these are not necessarily more effective than SPF 50 because of the non-linear scale. Often, it is not worth the money to use a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 50.

The level of SPF you need varies

Most dermatologists recommend the average person use sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 or SPF 30. However, the level of SPF you actually need will vary depending on your skin type, tone and sensitivity, as well as your sun exposure. People with darker skin tones can typically use a lower SPF than people with fair skin tones.

It’s important to remember that SPF isn’t only instrumental in preventing painful sunburns, but will also help prevent skin cancer and other long-term damage. If you are unsure of what level of SPF is appropriate for your skin, the professionals at our spa in Palatine, IL can help you.

The effectiveness of SPF

SPF has been proven to be very effective. By applying sunscreen properly, you drastically minimize the risk of harmful UVB rays penetrating your skin and causing permanent damage.

Regardless of the level of SPF you choose to use, though, it will not be effective if you do not apply it as directed. Standard sunscreens should be applied approximately every two hours, using about 1 oz for your body. Also remember that water, sweat and wear will reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen, meaning you’ll need to apply it more often if necessary.

Visit our spa in Palatine, IL for your skin care needs!

At Claude Thomas Salon & Spa, we prioritize customer service and want to help you look and feel your best. Our full-service salon and spa in Palatine, IL offers a wide variety of hair, spa and makeup services for you to choose from, and our professionals are dedicated to the latest techniques and available products, so you know you’ll be in good hands. Call today!

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