Your SPF and PA Guide to Sunscreens

Since it’s summer, we always find hoards of sunscreen and skin products with SPF in stores. I researched about these stuff and I would like to share them to you in case you’re wondering just like me.

SPF is an abbreviation for Sun Protection Factor that is used to measure the effects of UVB Rays. This system is FDA approved. UVB Rays affect our skin by reddening or burning it.

To further guide you, here’s a run down of the SPF-15-30-50 Guide:

SPF 15 – 1/15 of the UVB rays get through to your skin blocking about 93%. (For everyday use.)

SPF 30 – 1/30 of the UVB rays get through to your skin blocking about 97%. (For outdoor activities.)

SPF 50 – 1/50 of the UVB rays get through to your skin blocking about 98%. (For a longer exposure under the sun.)

Other products higher than 50 could screen more UVB rays but will not give you 100% protection.

Important Reminders:

> Apply generously. Slather on thick.
> Use before sun exposure.
> Reapply frequently. Recommended every 2 hours or more often when sweating or swimming.
> Do not stay too long under the sun even with sunscreen.
> Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight.
> Wear protective clothing and use sufficient sunscreen for unprotected areas.
> Apply regardless of weather or time. (The moon and stars could still reflect UVB and UVA rays at night.)

Question is, how about UVA Rays?

UVA rays are much more damaging than UVB. It can penetrate through clouds and glass, thus, it goes deeper in your skin that the UVB rays and is said to be responsible for skin cancer and premature ageing. There is no FDA approved system for UVA analysis but there is a Japanese/Korean system that is gaining awareness. It is the Protection Grade of UVA or PA accompanied by plus (+) signs. The plus signs indicate the level of protection from PPD or Persistent Pigment Darkening.

Protection Grade and PPD

PA +         = 2 to less  than 4 PPD
PA ++       = 4 to less than 8 PPD
PA +++    = 8 to less than 16 PPD
PA ++++  = 16 or above PPD

As I have mentioned, it is not yet approved by the FDA but it is a developing system. I cannot say much about this system but what I’ve learned in PA so far is that more plus signs means more protection and just like SPF, it is not 100% protection.

So to sum it all up, just use a broad spectrum sunscreen. Some products indicate both SPF and PA so I think this is what we really need to invest on. More so in this summer heat.

I hope this article helped you. Remember to enjoy the sun but do not overexpose!!!



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