Sunscreen has become one of the essential parts of the skin-care routine. Every sunscreen comes with a specific SPF number. So, what does SPF stand for? The acronym SPF can be expanded as Sun Protection Factor. A number is associated with the SPF, indicating how well the sunscreen can protect the skin against the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the burning sun. Laboratory tests determine the SPF number or SPF rating. However, in this article, we will look at what the SPF ratings mean and whether sunscreens with high SPFs can protect the skin better.

Some standard sunscreen SPF ratings are SPF 15, SPF 30, and SPF 50.

What is the difference between SPF 15, SPF 30, and SPF 50? It is pretty simple.

SPF 15 helps fight 93 percent of UV rays

SPF30 offers 97 percent protection to the skin from harmful UV rays

SPF 50 provides 98 percent protection against these rays.

In other words, when a sunscreen with SPF 15 is applied, it allows 7 percent of UV rays to hit your skin; when a sunscreen with SPF 30 is used, it will let 3 percent of UV rays hit your skin, and when a sunscreen with SPF 50 is applied, it allows 2 percent of UV rays to hit your skin.

Though these numbers seem promising, it is essential to note that some UV rays can always get through to the skin, irrespective of the type of sunscreen used or high SPFs. No sunscreen can block 100 percent of the dangerous UV rays emitted by the scorching sun. Sunscreen acts like a shield and offers protection against the most harmful UV rays. Before you purchase, alongside the SPF, note the expiry date of the sunscreen. An expired sunscreen will not offer the protection specified by its SPF since some ingredients could have lost their power. Every time you apply sunscreen, ensure that you shake the tube or bottle well.

Does a sunscreen with a high SPF protect the skin better?

As we have seen in the earlier part of the article, a sunscreen with a higher SPF can offer protection against a more significant percentage of UV rays emitted by the sun. However, the difference between the protection provided by a sunscreen with SPF 30 (97 percent) and a sunscreen with SPF 50 (98 percent) is minuscule. Similarly, sunscreens with SPFs upwards of 50 can offer protection to the skin against sunburn in the range of 98 and 100 percent. However, getting 100 percent protection against the sun’s rays is only hypothetical.

You may be attracted to buying sunscreen with high SPF that will allow you to remain outdoors for extended periods. However, you must know that no sunscreen can offer complete protection, whatever its SPF rating. If you do not apply it properly to all the exposed parts of your body and do not reapply at regular intervals, then there is practically no protection for your skin against UV rays.