Understanding SPF

Published by Daniela on 7th Mar 2022

May is “Melanoma Awareness Month” and Hampton Sun is here to help you become better educated on skin cancer and how to best protect yourself.

We’ve all been there…standing in front of rows of suntan products with different SPF numbers while wondering what the different numbers mean. You are not alone! It is confusing!

Hampton Sun  is here to help you understand what the SPF numbers mean. Here is a simple formula to remember:

Minutes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number = Maximum sun exposure time

For example, if your skin would burn after 10 minutes of sun exposure without sunblock, an SPF 15 would protect you 15 times longer, so you could be exposed to the sun for 150 minutes without skin damage.

Sunscreen blocks ultraviolet light from damaging the skin. There are two categories of UV light -- UVA and UVB. UVA light causes long-term damaging effects on the skin, such as premature aging. UVB light causes sunburn.

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) numbers were introduced in 1962 to measure a sunscreen's effect against UVB rays. In other words, SPF impacts the length of time for sun exposure before a sun damage occur because it helps block UVB light.

There are many factors that impact SPF care and each sunbather should take notice of their own experiences. Things like location, time of day, type of water and sand, and other factors matter. For instance, the time of day you’re outside can dramatically affect your sunscreen’s performance. It could take up to an hour of direct morning sunlight to match what 15 minutes in the early afternoon can do. When the sun’s high in the sky, make sure you reapply!

One misconception about SPF is the higher the number, the less frequently you need to apply. False! No matter what SPF you’re using, reapplying after 40 minutes is a good rule of thumb. And, although water-resistant formulas have come a long way, it’s a good idea to reapply after swimming and toweling dry. The friction from towels, sand, or even your beach chair could rub off sunscreen in some areas. Keep protected by sticking to a schedule of reapplying, whether you’re using SPF 4 or 70!

Hampton Sun® has a wide and deep assortment of sun care lotions and sprays. One is right for you! We take care to help you care for yourself and keep your skin beautiful and luxurious.

Hampton Sun® - Bringing Luxury To The Science Of Suncare