What SPF Is Necessary For My Skin?

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There are thousands of sunscreen products on the market today, but not all of them are created equal. Customers can choose from numerous brands, SPF levels, and waterproof versus non-waterproof formulas. So how do you know which sunscreen is the best choice for you? The most important factor to consider is SPF level, as the SPF indicates how well protected you are from harmful UV rays. There are a few things to take into consideration when deciding which SPF level is necessary for your skin.

One of the most important things to think about is your skin’s history. Does your skin typically burn when you are in the sun for extended periods of time? If you’ve had a bad sunburn in previous summers and your skin tends to burn easily, you may need to purchase a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher in order to stay adequately protected. Those who have fairer skin typically burn more easily, so it’s also a good idea to wear a cover up if you are planning to be in the sun for a long period of time. In general, the lighter your skin, the higher the SPF you should go for. It’s debatable how effective formulas get after SPF 50, yet they tend to be more expensive.

If your skin tans very easily and you’ve never experienced the seething pain of a sunburn, you can probably get away with using sunscreen that contains a lower SPF formula. However, it is important to keep in mind that the American Food and Drug Administration recommends using sunscreen that contains SPF 15 at the least. So try to stay away from sunscreen formulas that offer minimal protection, such as SPF level 5 or 10. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can be harmful for your skin whether you burn or tan, so it is important to protect yourself. This will help you avoid both skin cancer and premature aging.

When selecting an SPF, you also want to consider whether you are genetically predisposed to things like skin cancer. Have you ever had a pre-cancerous or cancerous spot removed, or do certain types of skin cancer run in your family? If you answered yes to either of those questions, it’s a good idea to opt for a higher SPF sunscreen formula in order to protect your skin and lower your risk. You will also want to make sure to cover your skin if you are going to be sitting in the sun for several hours.

Whether you tend to burn or tan, it is always important to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Some formulas advertise that they are waterproof for several hours, but this is not necessarily true. It’s good practice to reapply sunscreen every two hours at least, or more frequently if you are at higher risk for getting a sunburn or predisposed to skin cancer. You will also need to apply more frequently if you are spending significant time swimming in the ocean, a lake, or pool. Waterproof formulas are typically only water resistant, and don’t necessarily offer you the protection you need if you are spending hours hanging out in the water.

There are a few important things to consider when selecting the right sunscreen formula for your skin. First, you want to think about your own history with the sun. You will also want to consider your skin tone. Those with fairer skin tend to burn more easily. And also be sure to think about your risk levels for certain types of skin cancer. These considerations will allow you to make an informed decision and remain protected while you enjoy some fun in the sun!

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6 comments… add one
  1. Emily Kristina October 16, 2013, 1:54 am

    SPF is important to me as I do not want my skin to age faster by harmful rays and also I do not want to get tanned skin as I am not suitable so I would definitely use a sunblock with at least SPF 30 till I wash my face at night before going to sleep.
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    1. Marisa October 16, 2013, 8:41 pm

      Hello! I too wash my face to at night, to wash away and dirt oil and left over sunscreen. In addition I slather on sunscreen daily. I also use at least an SPF of 30 sometimes even higher, to protect my skin. I feel certain that in the long run, a little sunscreen will help to prevent premature aging, sunburn and skin cancer.
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  2. Toni Nelson October 30, 2013, 9:36 am

    When I think about the damage the sun can do to your skin I’m glad I never was one to lay out in the sun for hours. Espcially with the Florida sun I make sure I always have on an SPF of 30:)
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    1. Marisa October 30, 2013, 10:12 am

      Hi, Toni! I know just what you mean, the sun can be really cruel to your skin. I too aim to now just lay out in the sun, (which can hard to resist if you live in nice, warm climates, especially those that have beaches). lol.
      Just like you I strive to use at least an SPF of 30 daily to protect it from those harmful rays.
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  3. Marisa October 14, 2013, 11:46 am

    hello, thank you! I’m happy that you found the the information on this site to be helpful.
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