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SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is the rating assigned to products that help to shield and protect us from the sun’s harmful rays. If you know your sunscreen, you’ve seen them available in sprays, lotions, tinted moisturizers, and make-up. A newer fashion market even exists with sun protective clothing produced from fabrics rated for their ultraviolet (UV) protection. These garments have proven an excellent supplement to liquid sunscreen for runners and outdoor lovers.

At the center of the booming SPF industry are the sun’s ultraviolet A (long-wave) and ultraviolet B (shortwave) rays. Both UVA and UVB pierce the earth’s atmosphere and stealthily and steadily age skin prematurely, damage the eyes (including the promotion of cataracts), and generate deadly skin cancers. These rays also suppress the immune system, reducing your ability to fight off these and other maladies.

What’s the Right SPF for You?

There’s a loosely-based formula about the strength of SPF you can take into consideration: a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will basically allow a person who would burn in 10 minutes to instead succumb to sunburn in 150 minutes. However, there are more than mere mathematical factors that must guide you! The SPF you use, the frequency with which you apply it, the length of sun exposure, the time of day, that day’s weather and where the sun lover is geographically located!

The best rule of thumb: wear sunscreen whether you’re fair or dark skinned. While we recommend you consult with our professionals or your dermatologist for the best SPF and protection type for your skin and your family history, the list of negative (and potentially deadly) concerns makes sunscreen essential for everyone.