SPF basically stands for Sun Protection Factor and the numbers, most commonly 15, 20 and 30, relate to the amount of UVB protection a product offers. SPF15 blocks around 93% of UVB rays, SPF30 blocks 97%. Using a high SPF doesn’t mean it lasts longer than using a lower one, the only difference between them is the percentage of UV rays that they are blocking.
UVA (Ultraviolet A) rays are the main cause of wrinkles and skin ageing because they penetrate more deeply than UVB, even when the sun isn’t shining. UVB (Ultraviolet B) rays cause sunburn and have strong links to cancer so using a sunscreen with UVB protection will help prevent skin burning.
You should apply at least a teaspoon of lotion to each limb and just over a teaspoon to the front and back of your body, but the more you apply the better. Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before you go out in the sun to allow it time to soak into the skin. You should then apply it again every two hours, more often if you have been sweating or swimming.
Yes, it does. Check the bottle for the expiry date, ideally before you go on holiday but always before you use it. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of 12 to 18 months after opening. Always store away from sunlight.
While you can use body SPF products on your face, it’s best to go for ones specially formulated for the skin on the face as they are less likely to clog your pores and leave a greasy film, due to their lighter weight consistency. Face SPFs also contain facial skin specific ingredients like anti-inflammatories and anti-ageing boosters. Beach time and weekend play time requires a specific sunscreen for the face whereas if it’s a workday, a moisturiser containing SPF is enough.
You need to protect your lips and apply an SPF lip balm every few hours when you’re in the sun as this delicate area will burn too. Go for ones containing nourishing ingredients as well as broad spectrum protection as this will stop them drying out.
Your hair is also prone to sun damage. Not only will the sun dry it out, but it will also fade your colour so make sure you pack products with UV protectors in your beach bag. Most contain nourishing ingredients to hydrate the hair, but some also will help your hair to look good while you’re sunning yourself.