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As sad as it may sound, the sun is responsible for accelerating your skin's aging process up to seven times faster. When direct sunlight keeps penetrating your bare skin, it leads to skin burns, skin damage, and skin cancer as well. Although the sun is partially responsible for uplifting the mood too, you can't really escape the mighty sun; but what you can do is make the sun escape your skin~ and that is why sunscreens came into existence~ to coat your skin with a protective shield that reflects the harmful UV rays of the sun.

A sunscreen should be a compulsory part of your morning skincare routine as it is the most crucial step of amongst all. Doesn't matter if you're going out for a couple of minutes, or hours or if you're staying inside, your skin is directly or indirectly affected by the ultraviolet rays of the sun all day long. But the important question is, what are the basics behind SPF and its use?! To wrap it up for you, we have jotted down an SPF guide that will help you understand the purpose of your sunscreen.

Let's start by understanding what SPF, UVA, and UVB are...

We often hear the term 'SPF' and think that it’s same as a sunscreen, but SPF or Sun Protection Factor is actually found in sunscreen products and usually determines the time duration that is safe for your skin under the sun before it starts getting irritated.

Similarly, UVA and UVB are also considered synonymous to one another, but they are both different types of radiation that affects your skin in different ways. Here's a quick brief:

  • UVA is Ultra-Violet A (Long Waves): The skin is majorly exposed to the UVA rays, as it easily passes through the ozone layer and is responsible for the early signs of aging,
  • UVB is Ultra-Violet B (Short Waves): Responsible for sunburns and cataracts, UVB rays directly affects the immune system and paves way to tons of skin diseases.
  • SPF is Sun Protection Factor: The Sun Protection Factor only applies to UVB rays. To ensure your sunscreen is protecting your skin against both UVA and UVB rays, ensure the product label has "broad spectrum protection" on it.

The Math Behind SPF Numbers

You might have often wondered the math behind the numbers 15, 30, 50 and so on, on your sunscreen labels. These numbers are basically what determines the number of minutes your skin will remain sun protected. Here's a simple calculation~ Say your skin starts to irritate and reddens when exposed to the sun for 15 minutes. Take the 15 minutes and multiply it by the SPF number of the product you're using; that will give you the approximate time your skin will remain sun-safe.

Eg: If you are using SPF 15, multiply 15 by 15 and you'll get 225. Hence, 225 minutes is your product's standard sun protection limit.

How Much Sunscreen Is Enough Sunscreen?

30ML or 1oz of sunscreen is enough for entire body application. But for just the face and neck, 5-6 grams of the product is more than enough. It's very important to protect every exposed area of your skin, thus never miss your face, arms, legs, and neck. Some of the commonly missed spots that should gain your attentions are~ your ears, your lips, hairline and bald spots.

To conclude it, if you start using sunscreen today, your skin will be thankful after twenty years; in fact, "the best sunscreen is the one you're going to use!”