WHAT IS SPF AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Loving the sun is so easy. Sunday brunch sitting on a lovely café terrace, sunbathing while on holidays, sitting poolside with a cocktail – who could say no to these? A little time in the sun is fun, but your skin needs sun protection no matter how long or what time of day you are out and about. You’ve probably heard about SPF being an essential part of your skin care routine, but what does SPF mean exactly? And how can your skin benefit from an SPF moisturiser? Read on to find out!
WHAT DOES SPF MEAN?
SPF is short for sun protection factor, and the higher the number that follows it, like SPF 50 for example, the more time you may be able to spend in the sun without getting sunburnt from its ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. We’ll cover this in more detail in the next section. It’s worth noting that there are two types of UV rays that your skin needs protection against, UVA and UVB rays. Protection against ultraviolet A rays is indicated with the letters UVA. If a product can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays, it’s called ‘broad-spectrum’ UV protection.
WHAT DOES THE SPF NUMBER MEAN?
Simply put, the number after SPF indicates how much longer it may take for you to get sunburnt after you’ve applied SPF, compared to when you’re not using any SPF at all.
For example, if you usually start to get sunburnt after about 10 minutes without any sun protection, putting on an SPF 30 moisturiser will mean that you can spend approximately 5 hours in the sun without the risk of sunburn because 10 x 30 equals 300 minutes.
Keep in mind, this calculation, however, is just an estimate, because your risk of sunburn can depend on many factors like the weather, the season and the time of day. Plus, we don’t recommend figuring out how long it normally takes you to get sunburnt by spending time in the sun unprotected to see.
The takeaway message should be that although the sun protection factor number can be as low as 2 or as high as 50+, the higher this number, the better it is in terms of your protection against sunburn. The minimum recommended for daily use is 15, and it should provide UVA protection as well.
It’s also important to note that you should always follow the instructions on the pack or bottle about how often you should reapply, and if you still feel a bit uncertain, reapplying more often is always safer.
ALL ABOUT UV RAYS
The sun is responsible for up to 80 percent of the signs of premature skin aging. So, no matter how much you love the sun, it’s important to protect your skin from its harmful rays. Read on to learn all about UV rays.
UVA AND UVB RAYS EXPLAINED
Although it’s not quite as black and white, there’s a trick that makes it a bit easier to understand the main difference between UVA and UVB rays in an easy way:
UVB ending with B is for burning.
EXPOSURE TO UVA RAYS
Although both UVA and UVB rays are invisible, and we can’t feel them, we are exposed to both all year round. UVA rays can penetrate through clouds and even glass windows, so your skin needs protection even if it’s raining outside, or you’re just sitting by your living room window. When they reach your skin, UVA rays get deep into its surface, and over time they can cause visible skin aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
Using a daily moisturiser with broad-spectrum UV protection can help fend off UVA rays and keep your skin looking younger for longer while also giving your skin the hydration it needs.
EXPOSURE TO UVB RAYS
Our exposure to UVB rays varies by time, season and location. They also cause more skin damage at higher altitudes because the atmosphere is thinner so it can’t filter as many of the UVB rays out. This means using SPF on a ski trip or while mountain climbing is just as important as applying it while on the beach. UV rays are also one of the main causes of skin cancer, so protection against both UVA and UVB rays is key not just for preserving your skin’s youthful look but also to protect your health.
HOW DOES SPF PROTECT YOUR SKIN AGAINST UV RAYS?
The SPF number, like SPF 30 or 50, on the label of a bottle isn’t just about how long you can spend out in the sun without getting burnt. The higher the SPF you use, the better because:
SPF 15 fends off 93% of UVB rays
SPF 30 fends off 97% of UVB rays
SPF 50 fends off 98% of UVB rays
however as you can see there’s very little difference as we go up in numbers.
When you choose your SPF face cream, always go for products with broad-spectrum UV, because it gives you protection against both UVA and UVB rays as opposed to those that protect only against UVB rays. All of our Olay collections contain an SPF variant to give you the protection you need while pampering, hydrating and nourishing your skin.
WHY AN SPF MOISTURISER?
Applying regular sun protection when you’re out and about might not be everyone’s favourite thing to do, since many of these creams feel heavy, sticky, and greasy on the skin. Olay has a solution for that!
Olay Regenerist Whip Light Moisturiser With SPF 30 absorbs instantly and has an ultra-lightweight feel, so you won’t have to wear an uncomfortable and heavy cream on your face to get the protection your skin needs. As a true multitasker, Olay Regenerist Whip SPF 30 also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and contains SPF 30 to give you a comfortable and hydrating barrier against the sun. It’s important to note, though, that it’s not waterproof, so while it’s perfect for day-to-day use, it should always be combined with sunscreen if your activities involve heavy sweating or if you’re going to the beach.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MINERAL AND CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN?
You know all about the importance of wearing sunscreen every day, but there are a ton of sunscreen choices to sort through when picking the formula that’s best for you. One of the biggest questions you may have is whether you should choose a mineral or chemical formula. The good news is – there are no bad choices. Both mineral and chemical sunscreen can give you serious broad-spectrum sun protection, so it’s really a matter of preference. We’ll shine a light on the differences below:
THE 101 ON MINERAL SUNSCREEN
Mineral sunscreens are sun protection formulas made up of natural, non-chemical ingredients - we use zinc oxide in all of our mineral formulas. Unlike chemical formulas, which sink into the skin to protect it, mineral sunscreens sit invisibly on top of your skin to block the rays. This is an excellent choice if you prefer to go au naturale, and we’ve crafted our formulas to absorb quickly with no greasy residue.
THE 101 ON CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN
Chemical sunscreens, as the name implies, use tried-and-true chemical SPF to block out the sun’s damaging rays. We use ingredients like avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene, which have proven sun-protection benefits and can blend seamlessly into the formulas for added skin benefits like brightening and hydration. This is an excellent choice for a formula that absorbs easily into your skin so you can put it on and forget about it.
Really, when it comes to sunscreen, there are no bad choices. The important thing is to find a formula that you love, and that fits in with your lifestyle, because the best thing you can do for your skin is to protect it from sun damage. Whether you go mineral or chemical, just make sure you stay consistent and your skin will thank you.