What SPF is right for my skin?

Summers are right around the corner. Chances are that you want to avoid going outside because the sun exposure is considered harmful for your skin. But sometimes, it becomes inevitable to leave your place and step outdoors!

You will possibly put on some sunscreen you had in your drawer. Obviously, it is better to protect skin this way rather than doing nothing about it.

The problem, however, arises when you have to buy the sunscreen in the first place.  The right SPF or Sun Protection Factor is an equally important point you should keep in mind. Why that is the case we will see later but the point being: different SPFs are there for different skin tones.

Is SPF important to consider?

The short answer is YES! In fact, it is rather the most important thing you should look for when you buy a sunscreen. The right SPF will ensure that your skin is viably protected from solar radiation.

Let us now look at how that is the case.

Basically, the sun emits two types of radiations: UVA and UVB. Although both are considered harmful, they have different functions altogether. UVA is responsible for causing the ageing symptoms to develop on the skin like wrinkles and sagging.

On the other hand, UVB is slightly more dangerous because of its carcinogenic property. Typically, if you have sunburns, that’s because you had more exposure to the UVB radiation.

Either way, what you should keep in mind is that both UVA and UVB are harmful to your skin. When you find yourself under the sun, you are actually allowing these radiations to react in one way or the other. But when you make use of SPF, you prolong your skin’s defence mechanism against these radiations. The simple way to understand is that the factor stated will tell you how much protection you are able to benefit from. For example, an SPF of 40 will provide with 50 times more protection than a skin that does not have sunscreen applied.

What SPF is right for my skin?

The next thing you might ask, what SPF should I go for when I buy sunscreen?

For obvious reason, you might feel the need to buy the one with the highest factor. While a lot of people are actually inclined to pursue a mindset like that but on a closer look, the story is a bit different.

A sunscreen of SPF 15 will give you sufficient protection. Similarly, 70 is generally the highest factor you will find. But at the end of the day, dermatologists have been able to devise a way to help people decide.

The Sun Protection Factor Guide is a chart that you should use before actually buying sunscreen. It takes into account your skin complexion, the effects of the sun on the skin and finally by considering the two, the right SPF to opt for. For example, a highly fair skin that gets burned easily will require an SPF of 50+. Moreover, long exposure to the sun will also require you to buy a product with a higher rating.

Sun Protection Factor Guide

Skin Complexion Effects of Sun on the Skin SPF recommended
Very fair Burns easily and never tans 50+
Fair Minimal tan but burns easily 30-50
Light Moderate burns and tans frequently 15-30
Medium Always tans but minimum burns 15
Dark Rare Burns but tans easily 10-14
Very Dark Never burns but skin becomes pigmented <10


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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