Decoding Sunscreens

Decoding_SunscreensSunscreen, or sunblock, is an important item for us now that the sun seems to shine increasingly brightly at this little island. Don't be put off by the endless choices of labels that mean nothing to you, or be fooled by smart marketing lingo into paying more for a mere one per cent more of sunscreen protection. Here's three common terms and what they really mean.


SPF simply stands for Sun Protection Factor and represents the amount of protection you get from UVB rays. No, despite the major price difference SPF45 does not get you thrice of that of SPF15. SPF15 blocks your skin from 93 per cent of UVB rays; SPF45 blocks about 97 per cent; SPF50 blocks 98 per cent and SPF100 blocks 99 per cent. There is no sunscreen that would block UVB rays 100 per cent.

Water- and Sweat-resistant

Again, such labels does not mean you could splash around at the beach for hours at a stretch. Authorities, including America's Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generally approve such a label so long as the product maintains its SPF for at least 30 minutes and longer. This means re-application is mandatory even if the product says 100 per cent water-resistent.

Broad Spectrum

This simply means that the sunscreen protects against both UVB and UVA rays. The former turns your skin red before burning it, and the latter is the reason why women eager to remain youthful looking slap sunscreens on daily.

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