Sunscreen and SPF 101

By Gwendolyn Me - August 17, 2013

Today, I'm going to be talking about Sunscreen and SPF's. People that i've met usually compliment me on my skin and complexion, this, i got to give great thanks to genes and my blood. BUT, opportunity was given, i took the effort and hardworking to keep it and maintain it.

So Sunscreen..What is it? As simple as it is, it blocks the sun, keeps you from getting sun burnt or aging faster. Why do we need it? Because we want to stay pretty. Now, one thing that everybody needs to know is, Don't come and tell me "whoa... your complexion so pretty! i want your skin! i love your skin! i wish i had your skin!" but then you are too lazy too do anything or apply anything. how to stay pretty leh? I wasn't born pretty, i worked and put in alot of effort into it.

So here am i, guiding you and telling you. If you are those girls who goes "i don't like to use make up." or "i don't really use makeup" because of many reasons, one thing that you NEED to put. is sunscreen. Sunscreen is not makeup, sunscreen is a skincare. Even for guys, just because you put sunscreen, it doesn't make you gay. So don't complain, if you're not putting any effort in.

What is SPF? 
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and shows to what degree a product prevents sunburn. Since sunburn is caused by UVB radiation, SPF rating give no indication of how well a product will protect you from UVA radiation (responsible for skin aging and skin cancer). A higher value means you get more protection. As sunburn is caused by UVB radiation SPF is only a measure of how much UVB is blocked, not how much UVA. So while you may be using the highest SPF available, you are still completely vulnerable to UVA radiation - which causes skin cancer and skin aging. For protection against both UVA and UVB rays you will need a 'broad spectrum' product.

So what SPF would be right for you? This is entirely up to you depending on your product, to calculate how much you would be protected, you take the number of the SPF, add a zero at the back and you'd get how many minutes you'd be protected, and to divide 60, you would know how many hours it is.
For example,
SPF15 = 150 minutes = 2 hours and 30 minutes
SPF30 = 300 minutes = 5 hours.

Then, some have asked me, The higher the SPF, the better they are? 
Not entirely true i can say. SPF15 blocks roughly 93% and SPF30 blocks roughly 97%, and anything above SPF30, it's the same as 97%.
Next up, one have asked me "I can get SPF100 then i would be very sun safe and don't have to reapply?"
The answer to this is NO! I would not advise you to get anything above SPF50. This is because, the longer the hours the product gives, the more oil it contains even though it says 'oil-free' or whatsoever. but after 5 hours, your product melts, evaporate, moves and your protection barrier from the SPF is used up, so to make it last longer, they use oil. Which means, in long term run, the results are reversed and you get darker instead of keeping as fair as how you are.

So i would suggest you go lower than SPF50. And don't forget to reapply every two/three hours if you are going underwater and if you spf is a spf20.

So what is the difference between UVA and UVB? 
UVA is Ultra Violet Aging(long wave) and UVB is Ultra Violet Burning(shortwave). UVA penetrates into your skin causing aging, cancer, wrinkles and so on, where UVB burns the surface of your skin. Both UVA and UVB, however, penetrate the atmosphere and play an important role in conditions such as premature skin aging, eye damage (including cataracts), and skin cancers. They also suppress the immune system, reducing your ability to fight off these and other maladies.

For a clearer information, i came up with something so that you can understand. 

Here i have found an image from the internet from here that explains the difference between UVA and UVB and what it does so that it wouldn't be so complicated. They are part of the sunrays that penetrates to our skin, but the effect that UVA and UVB both gives to our human skin are different. UVB penetrates deep into the skin causing skin aging, and damage into our tissue and as the years pass by, it will grow out to the surface of our skin and NOT making us pretty. Where UVB only penetrates to the Epidermis layer of the skin which causes sunburn and tanning.

This is why it is important that when you buy yourr sunblock/sunscreen, you have to not just know the SPF that you have but as well as what kind of coverage you are getting. Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen as seen in the image above are sunscreen that blocks BOTH UVA and UVB.

Next up, What is PA? and does how many + makes a difference?
PA refers to the ammount of protection the sunscreen offers to UVA. And yes, the more + you get, the more protection you get. Ranking list from PA+, PA++, PA+++.

To make it a much more clearer explanation. SPF coveres UVB and PA coveres UVA.

Here, I have also bring up a video by Michelle Phan where she talks about sunscreens as well. I know i don't normally post up videos as such and so, but just in case you guys get bored with all the words but the message must be sent out and i don't do videos. Well, not yet. LOL You can also read up on her blog here.

"prevention is better than cure"

How is my face routine for keeping myself sun-safe?
- After cleansing my face, i take a cotton pad and pour toner on it and dab/wipe my face with it. (I switch alternative between days, I am currently using SKII Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2, Dr. G Blue Blue Toner, Nuskin PH Balance Toner )
- Next I apply a small ammount on my t-zone with the Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Combination Skin to mattify my face as i am combination oily skin. 
- I'll then leave it on for a bout few minutes, i like to let my product absorb and dry up before i go on with the next later. 
- Next up would be either my Laneige Water Supreme Primer Base SPF15 PA+ (If i am having redness that day), or usually, i go with my all-time favourite Lioele Powdery Sun Chiffon SPF 50+/PA+++ (i only skip this if my face is feeling flaky that day as this is a primer base that dries up and makes the flakes looks worst). IF i am flaky that day, i would go for my touchinSOL Be Nice to my Skin Sun Cream SPF30 PA++
- Then i would see what is my occasion, if i am in a hurry, i would go for my KATE Powderless Liquid for COVER SPF20/PA++. If i want to have a clean fair flawless look, i would go for one of my BB Creams (GARNIER BB Cream SPF26/PA+++, Bio Platinum BB Cream SPF25/PA++, touchinSOL In the Skin Renovation BB Cream SPF36/PA++, BRTC Aqua Rush Waterdrop BB Cream SPF28/PA++, Etude House Precious Mineral BB Cream Cotton Fit SPF30/PA++, Skin79 Hot Pink BB Cream SPF25/PA++, and the list goes on but these are my current ones that i am using. I normally pick which to use according to how i want the after look to be.)
- And after doing my eyes, brows, lips and contour blush etc, I would finish up with my MAKEUP FOREVER HD Powder to set everything in. 

So with after all the steps, I know and am confident of stepping under the sun for a few good hours knowing i am fully protected. 

Stay tune, for Sunscreen and SPF 102 where i would be talking about physical and chemical sunscreens and any other questions that would be asked by anyone or commonly. And for now, go buy yourself sunscreen if you don't have one YET.

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  1. thanks for the information! its so useful! finally i understand more abt sunblock :D

    1. You're welcome! :) I'm happy to share information that would be able to help and guide others too! And thanks for commenting. <3