What is the Difference Between SPF 30 and 50? Your Sunscreen Questions Answered

Whether we want to admit it or not, the sun can represent our best friend or our worst enemy. While we thrive on this life-giving element, it can also cause damage if left unchecked. This often comes in the form of a process known as photoaging. Photoaging involves damage to the skin caused by UVA and UVB rays. It can lead to dryness, a lack of elasticity, premature aging, sunspots, and even certain forms of cancer. These are some of the main reasons why applying a powerful mineral sunscreen is always prudent.

However, we also need to take into account a concept known as the SPF of a sunscreen. Let’s examine how this type of protection can provide an effective barrier against the effects of photoaging.

SPF at a Glance

What does SPF stand for? SPF is an acronym for sun protection factor. It is displayed as a two-digit number on a bottle of sunscreen. This measurement is primarily used to describe how well the formulation will protect you from developing a sunburn.

There is also a great deal of science devoted to determining an SPF factor. Volunteers will be placed within laboratory settings and they are thereafter exposed to light of a specific intensity for a certain period of time. The effects of this light upon their skin is then partially used to develop an SPF rating for the sunscreen in question. Having said this, there is a bit more than initially meets the eye if we hope to better understand the level of SPF that is required.

What SPF Do I Need?

There are several factors which will determine the answer to this question. Some common variables include:

  • The fairness of your skin.
  • The time of the year.
  • How long you plan on remaining outdoors.

Of course, there are also many SPF levels to consider. These generally range from between 10 and 50 or higher. It also stands to reason that higher numbers are considered to offer more ample levels of protection. However, most sunscreens offer SPF 30 protection at the very least. This brings up another concern. Is SPF 30 enough or might more robust mineral formulations be better?

From a technical standpoint, SPF 30 will block approximately 93 per cent of the sun’s rays (primarily UVB rays). SPF 50 is more powerful, as it will prevent 98 percent of these rays from directly impacting your skin and causing damage. In other words, more is better in this sense.

Does SPF 50 Make a Difference in Real-World Settings?

At first glance, it may appear that there is little difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 sunscreens. However, we need to remember that an additional five percent of protection can have a massive impact upon the photoaging process. This is even more relevant if you have very fair skin or will be remaining outside for a lengthy period of time. Furthermore, more robust SPF levels signify that the sunscreen will not need to be applied as often (although the mineral products offered by ISDIN can be used multiple times throughout the day when needed).

Is SPF 50 or 30 Better for the Face?

We are all aware that facial skin is highly sensitive in nature. This is why higher levels of SPF protection are recommended. It is also crucial to mention that the signs of photoaging (such as dryness, wrinkles and a lack of elasticity) will be extremely pronounced throughout the face. Simply stated, it is better to be safe as opposed to sorry. The good news is that modern mineral creams contain additional ingredients that will help to nourish your facial skin. Examples include vitamin E and plankton-derived enzymes engineered to repair any damage that the sun may have already caused (sometimes referred to as DNA Repairsomes), patented by ISDIN.

It is now clear to see that a bit of knowledge can go a long way in regard to choosing the appropriate level of SPF protection. The effects of photoaging are very real and once a significant amount of damage has been done, it can be quite difficult to reverse. This is why selecting the most appropriate mineral-based sunscreen is always a wise decision.