The term SPF isn't new to any of us - we've seen it splashed over billboards, beauty products and glossies. But what is it exactly? To clear your doubts, here's a list of 7 sunscreen facts that'll answer all your questions about them!
1. What does SPF stand for?
The answer to this commonly asked question is that SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Simply put, it's a specific level of sun protection that a beauty product provides to the skin.
2. What does the SPF number signify?
If you've ever wondered how SPF works, its numerical value signifies the amount of time it can protect your skin from sun damage compared to unprotected skin. So if it takes 10 minutes for your skin to start burning without SPF, SPF 20 will protect your skin for 200 minutes.
3. What is a broad spectrum sunscreen?
Think of a broad spectrum sunscreen as a large umbrella that shields all the exposed areas of your skin. This is because it expansively protects your skin from both, UVA and UVB rays.
4. What does PA++ mean?
More sunscreen jargon, we know, but don't let it confuse you. The PA system is just the level of protection a sunscreen can provide against UVA rays.
5. What's the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
There's a whole lot of difference between the types of UV waves. Long wave ultraviolet A rays penetrate the thickest layer of the skin, the dermis, and are responsible for photoaging. Short wave ultraviolet B rays affect the superficial layers of the skin and are a primary cause of skin cancer.
6. What precautions should one take when using sunscreen?
Your best bet is to opt for broad spectrum sunscreen that is sweat and water proof. Reapply it every couple of hours for consistent protection and don't skip sunscreen on cloudy days or even when you're indoors.
7. Is sunscreen only meant for tanning?
Not at all! Sunscreen does a lot more than protect against superficial tanning. It prevents premature aging, sunburns, darkening and reduces the chance of skin cancer in the long run.