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The Sun Protection Factor

Sunscreen options for outdoor sports enthusiasts.
The Sun Protection Factor Sunscreen options for outdoor sports enthusiasts.

SPF is the ultimate buzz word of the summer. With the wide range of SPF numbers lining supermarket aisles, we all can't help but wonder whether an SPF 85 product really works better than an SPF 15.

The numbers indicated on sunscreen labels actually refer to the amount of protection you get from UVB rays while wearing the sunblock. UVB (UV Burn) rays are the culprit to stinging red sunburns. This means that an SPF 30 protects you from burning 30 times more than if you weren't wearing any sunscreen at all.

But you must remember that there are UVA (UV Age) rays as well. Although these don't cause any visible burns, they penetrate deep into the skin and cause skin aging.

It is therefore important to read sunscreen labels well to distinguish whether a product protects from both kinds of rays.

In a tropical country like ours, most dermatologists recommend an SPF 30 for everyday use—although many of us are guilty of not abiding by this. When taking into consideration the reason behind SPF numbers therefore, individuals who stay out in the sun for longer periods of time need to apply stronger sunscreens to keep their skin safe.

We asked five women who engage in outdoor sports about their sunscreen picks and skin needs, and give them great alternatives to try to stay protected while having fun in the sun.


—Reggie Aquino, Beauty Assistant