What does sunscreen SPF mean? How to choose?

What is FPS?

The famous acronym that always appears in sunscreen means “sun protection factor”. Therefore, the number that always appears in the sequence of this acronym refers to how much the product is protecting you from the sun’s rays.

What is the meaning of the numbers next to the FPS?

You certainly went to buy a sunscreen and wondered what those numbers mean: FPS15, FPS30, FPS50, FPS60 and so on.

These numbers indicate how long your skin will be protected from the sun’s rays .

The calculation to understand this time is simple: just multiply the SPF number by 10. The result will show how many minutes your skin will be protected.

For example: multiplying SPF15 by 10, the protection would be 2 and a half hours (150 minutes).

However, it is worth mentioning that the protection offered by the FPS tends to decrease as time goes by and, also, when it comes in contact with water and sand. So, reapplication of the protector should happen frequently.

FPS30 or FPS60?

With the calculation taught above, it is possible to realize that the FPS30 protects much more than the FPS15. Therefore, dermatologists say that, regardless of your skin type, the SPF30 should be used by everyone, including those who have black skin.

However, it seems that the protection factors above the SPF30 are no longer as efficient. Like this? Calm down, let’s explain.

With the SPF30, according to the calculation used, your skin will be protected for approximately 5 hours. However, it is also recommended by experts that the application of sunscreens occurs every 2 hours.

So, using FPS60 would not make much difference, because with much less than half the protection time, it would be necessary to reapply it.

However, studies show that people use the sunscreen, regardless of the SPF, in the wrong way. This is because the amount that should be applied to the face, for example, is the equivalent of 1 coffee spoon. However, people tend to use only ⅓ of that amount.

Despite this, it is clear that, for people who are very forgetful, are lazy, or will not have access to reapply throughout the day, the most suitable are the highest protection factors, really.

However, there are still significant differences between them. Protectors with a larger sunscreen filter tend to have a higher concentration of compounds, responsible for ensuring a better fixation on the skin. So, even after swimming in the sea or sweating, your skin is still protected.

In addition, research shows that the higher the SPF, the more it will absorb the rays emitted by the sun and, consequently, will further protect your skin. Check out:

Solar protection factor (SPF) Percentage of sunlight absorption
2 50%
15 93%
30 97%
60 99%

Although the difference is small, the percentage of absorption that each of them provides can be crucial for people with fair skin who need something even more efficient.

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