SPF…WTF….WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Published in Issue #5 | Summer 2016

By Chad Straughan

All summer long we slather sunscreen with hopes of preventing that dreaded sunburn and undergoing the knife in future years. But with todays wall of sunscreens, which is best for you? Let’s discuss what SPF really means and what you might want to consider. Some of you use tanning oil. Go ahead and STOP reading, this article isn’t for you. Some use SPF 4 and good for you! At least you are using an SPF, but you might as well be using the tanning oil… you are not getting the needed protection from an SPF 4. SPF stands for “sun protection factor”. SPF is the measure of time it would take to burn if you were not wearing sunscreen as opposed to wearing sunscreen. So, if you use an SPF 30, you can stay in the sun 30 times longer than not wearing any sunscreen….well sort of. Many dermatologists feel that SPF is often misleading and it is not a “consumer friendly” number. A more logical approach is looking at how much of the UVB rays are being blocked by your SPF. An SPF 15 product blocks 94% of the UVB rays, an SPF 30 blocks 97%, and an SPF 45 blocks 98%. Anything above an SPF 50 has no real added benefits. So the next time, you are putting on a sunscreen, which SPF are you going to choose? You might be thanking yourself years from now.  

We want to hear from you. Have a topic you would liked discussed? Email Chad at help@tidewaterpharmacy.com

Laura Olsen

Houston, TX