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What Does SPF In Sunscreen Really Mean? Here’s All You Need To Know!

What Does SPF In Sunscreen Really Mean? Here’s All You Need To Know!

You come across the acronym SPF a lot when you’re looking into sunscreens, but what does it mean? As we are well into the summer season, it is highly essential to find the right sunscreen for your skin type so that you stay protected from sun damage. That’s why knowing what is SPF in sunscreen and how much of it you need in your sunscreen product is important information that you need to understand before making a purchase. Here’s a simple explanation to the meaning of SPF in sunscreen and why it is so important to note. 

What Does SPF In Sunscreen Really Mean?

SPF is short for Sun Protection Factor. Each sunscreen product has a sun protection factor (SPF) that tells you how much protection you will get from UVB rays with a number denoting the level of protection. A product with a higher SPF will offer greater protection while a lower number will offer lesser protection. Higher SPF content like SPF 50 or SPF 60 is ideal for outdoor use whereas lower levels like SPF 25 or SPF 30 is suitable for indoor use. You can find out the level of SPF in sunscreen by reading the packaging.

What Are The Different Types Of SPF?

what is spf in sunscreen

Now that you know that you can find out the level of SPF a sunscreen can offer, you also should know about the different types of SPF in sunscreen.

Mineral SPF

Otherwise known as physical SPF, mineral SPF is the kind that forms a protective layer on the skin so that it blocks out the harmful UV rays from entering and damaging the skin. This kind of SPF forms a shield therefore it is popularly known as a physical SPF. Mineral SPF is highly recommended for anyone with acne prone skin as it will protect skin from pollutants as well and also not clog the pores.

Chemical SPF

Chemical SPF works by getting absorbed into the skin and not forming a shield on the upper layer of skin. Instead it goes into the pores and absorbs UV rays to keep your skin protected. This type of SPF has a more lightweight texture that is non-greasy on the skin. They will feel refreshing on the skin and will not make you look shiny. This type of SPF is suitable to be worn under makeup as well and it is ideal for those of you with dry skin types.

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

Broad spectrum sunscreen is formulated to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays that are emitted by the sun. Broad spectrum is different from regular sunscreens as a regular sunscreen will only protect your skin from UVB rays and not UVA rays. UVA rays have the potential to cause skin cancer, tanning, and accelerate premature signs of aging, therefore, broad spectrum SPF is highly essential these days. 

Sunburn Skin Treatment

How Does SPF Work? 

UVB rays cause damage to the epidermis, which is the outer layers of the skin, whereas UVA rays go into the skin and damage the dermal layers. SPF in sunscreen absorbs or reflects these rays to keep the skin protected.

POPxo Recommends Best Sunscreens 

It’s clear that SPF in sunscreen is important. So if you’re looking for daily sunscreens with the right SPF content, you’re in luck. Check out the best SPF sunscreens available in India.

Manish Malhotra Sandalwood SPF 25 Gel

Formulated with pure, concentrated aloe vera juice, this sunscreen has a lightweight gel formula that suits all skin types and is ideal for indoor wear. It hydrates and plumps the skin while offering SPF 25 protection. The formula contains sandalwood, haldi, olive oil, and chamomile, all of which help soothe acne and inflammation and give you a natural glow.

Should I Use Sunscreen At Home

Organic Harvest Sunscreen Acne/Oily Skin – SPF 60

This sunscreen is specifically formulated for oily and acne prone skin types. It is water resistant, broad spectrum, and gives a matte finish to skin. The formula is non-greasy and is quickly absorbed by the skin without causing any irritation, white cast, or breakouts. It offers SPF 60 which is ideal for time spent outdoors. It is also ideal for when you plan on spending time in the pool or on the beach.

St. Botanica Vitamin C SPF 50 Sunblock Face & Body Mist Sunscreen

This sunscreen comes in a spray format and is perfect for traveling. It offers ease of application and ideal nourishment thanks to its vitamin C content. Just spritz it on after moisturiser or over makeup and you’re good to go. The sunscreen also allows you to reapply sunscreen at any time without you having to get your hands laden with product. It offers broad spectrum SPF 50 protection, so it can be used for both indoor and outdoor wear.


What is better — SPF 30 or SPF 50?

The higher the SPF the better, especially when you are spending time outdoors. If you are indoors, you can manage with a lower SPF content like SPF 30.

Which SPF is best?

Broad spectrum SPF is best as it provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. 

What is better — SPF 15 or SPF 30?

It is ideal to opt for higher SPF in the summer. SPF 15 will help protect your skin but it is best kept for indoor use. 

 Is SPF 50 Harmful?

No, SPF 50 is not harmful. In fact, SPF 50 is ideal for outdoor activities and it will offer sufficient protection against sun damage.

Do sunscreens with high SPF protect you better? 

Yes, they do. The higher the SPF content, the better the protection.

What amount of SPF is the right amount?

It is recommended to use a minimum of SPF 15. However, if you plan to go outdoors in the summer, a higher SPF content is recommended. SPF 30 and SPF 50 can be the ideal amount for daily use.

All your doubts regarding what is SPF in sunscreen are now answered, so there’s nothing stopping you from making the right choice and opting for a sunscreen that suits your needs. Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen every couple of hours during the day.

Featured Image: Instagram

27 Apr 2022

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