Is SPF 15 Enough? The Different Types of Sun Protection

It's estimated that five million people get treated for skin cancer each year. There's no denying that genetics play a large factor when it comes to skin cancer susceptibility.

However, at the end of the day, a large number of cases are because people don't prioritize sun protection. Despite the importance of high SPF sun care products, there's still a lot of misinformation surrounding the subject.

So is SPF 15 enough? And should you consider switching to a product with higher SPF levels?

If you want to discover the answer to these questions and more, you're in the perfect place. This SPF meaning guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the different types of sun protection.

What Does SPF Mean?

SPF is an acronym used in the sun care industry that stands for Sun Protection Factor. It's a measurement of how well a product can shield you from UVB rays.

These rays are the usual suspects when someone's been burnt by the sun. All SPF ratings are an indication of how much UV radiation is required for sunburn. However, there's a common misconception that SPF is related to time exposure to the sun.

These sources tend to say that you should multiply the amount of time it usually takes for you to get burned by the SPF number. For example, if you usually get burned without sunscreen in forty minutes, then SPF 15 would theoretically last you ten hours.

However, this simply isn't true. As the FDA notes, SPF relates to the amount of exposure you receive from solar rays, not the time. Since solar exposure is highest during the midday, you would require stronger sunscreen with more reapplications during this time of day.

You also have to take geographic location into account since sun exposure is higher at lower latitudes. Snow and water can also reflect the sun, making it more intense.

Why Is SPF Important?

SPF is important because it protects us from UV radiation. This type of radiation is indeed needed to activate the production of Vitamin D in the body. However, they also cause a variety of health conditions.

For starters, this can include painful sunburn. However, it also ages the skin dramatically, causing wrinkles, freckles, and moles. If you don't wear sun protection, the rays have the potential to lead to awful blinding eye diseases.

And, of course, as we mentioned at the start of the article, overexposure can eventually cause skin cancer. While this type of skin cancer can range from mild to life-threatening, it's vital to protect against it at all costs.

The SPF rating on your sun care product is your frontline of defense against these skin damage threats.

How is SPF 15 Different From SPF 30 and 50?

The difference between the three common ratings for SPF is the percentage of rays that they block out. The higher the SPF level, the higher the percentage will be. The specific percentages for the types of sunscreen are as follows:

  • SPF 15 blocks around 93% of the sun's rays
  • SPF 30 blocks around 97% of the sun's rays
  • SPF 50 blocks around 98% of the sun's rays
  • SPF 100 blocks around 99% of the sun's rays

Now, you might think that the one percent difference between SPF 30 and 50 is negligible, but it's not. The reality is that this can make all the difference when it comes to people with fair skin that burns easily.

Is SPF 15 Enough?

The answer to this question depends on several factors. This first involves your skin type. People with darker skin tend to be able to naturally protect against the sun better.

As such, SPF 15 can be good for these skin types. However, people with fair skin tend to burn within minutes of setting foot in the sun. If you have this type of light skin, you should increase the amount of SPF you're using.

The next thing you need to consider is the duration of your time outside. If you're just going outside to run some errands, then SPF 15 might be enough to protect you.

However, if you plan on spending a lot of time outside (over an hour), then you should up your SPF levels to at least 30. This is especially true if you're doing physical activity outside.

Do You Need a Different Type of Sun Protection for Your Face?

It's important to remember that any type of sunscreen is better than no sunscreen. This holds when it comes to your face. That being said, some people have certain preferences when it comes to the type of sun care products they're applying to their face.

For example, some people might prefer a liquid spray over lotion. Many sun care products made for the face also come with additional benefits.

For example, this EltaMD UV Clear that we offer not only comes with SPF 46 but protects skin that's prone to acne and rosacea. Just make sure that when you're looking for sunscreen specifically for the face, it comes with SPF 30 or higher.

Why You Should Consider Using SPF 50

Most of the time, SPF 30 is good enough for skin protection if you're only going to be out for an hour. However, if you plan on being out for more than an hour, you should consider SPF 50.

Part of this is just for insurance. Most people significantly underapply the amount of sunscreen that's needed to provide the SPF rating.

By upping the SPF level, you cover all your bases. You should also consider SPF 50 if you want to protect against things like freckles.

Ready for Sun Care That Works? Shop at Minou & Lily

We hope this guide helped you answer the question, Is SPF 15 enough? Here at Minou & Lily, we tend to prioritize sun care products that offer at least SPF 30.

While this might not be necessary for everyone, it's almost always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to UV rays. That way, you can avoid the damaging sun rays. If you want to explore the diverse line of quality sun care products that we offer, then shop now.