Understanding Sunscreen and SPF

Kate Stroth Jul 06, 2023
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Sunscreen SPF levels

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only. 

Understanding Sunscreen: Exploring the Varying Levels of SPF and Brand Recommendations:

As the sun's rays become increasingly potent, protecting our skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation has become a paramount concern. Sunscreen, a remarkable invention, serves as a shield against these harmful rays. With an array of sun protection factor (SPF) options available on the market, it's crucial to understand the purpose of sunscreen and the pros and cons associated with different SPF levels. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of sunscreen, explore varying SPF levels, and equip you with the knowledge needed to make informed choices for your skin.

The Purpose of Sunscreen:

The primary purpose of sunscreen is to protect our skin from the damaging effects of the sun's UV radiation. There are two types of UV rays that reach the Earth's surface: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin, leading to premature aging and increasing the risk of skin cancer. UVB rays primarily affect the outer layer of the skin and are responsible for sunburns.

Sunscreen acts as a barrier, absorbing or reflecting UV radiation to prevent it from reaching the skin. The SPF value on sunscreen indicates the level of protection it provides against UVB rays. Let's explore the available SPF options, their respective pros and cons, and some brand recommendations.

SPF 15:

SPF 15 is a popular choice for daily use and offers moderate protection against UVB rays. It filters out approximately 93% of these harmful rays, allowing only 1/15th (or 6.7%) of them to reach the skin. SPF 15 is suitable for individuals with darker skin tones who are less prone to sunburns. However, it may not provide adequate protection during prolonged sun exposure or for those with fairer skin.


  • Suitable for daily use.

  • Easy to find and often found in moisturizers or makeup products.

  • Generally more affordable than higher SPF options.


  • Provides relatively low protection against UVB rays.

  • May not be sufficient for extended sun exposure or fairer skin types.

  • Frequent reapplication is necessary, especially when spending extended periods outdoors

Our Picks:

SPF 30:

SPF 30 offers a higher level of protection against UVB rays compared to SPF 15. It filters out around 97% of these rays, allowing only 1/30th (or 3.3%) to reach the skin. SPF 30 is a versatile option suitable for daily use and provides better protection for most skin types.


  • Offers increased protection against UVB rays compared to SPF 15.

  • Ideal for daily activities and moderate sun exposure.

  • Helps prevent sunburns and reduces the risk of skin damage.


  • Despite higher protection, it does not provide complete immunity to UV radiation.

  • Reapplication is still necessary, especially when outdoors for extended periods.

  • Individuals with fair or sensitive skin may require additional protection.

Our Picks:

SPF 50 and Above:

SPF 50 and higher offer the maximum protection against UVB rays. These sunscreens filter out approximately 98% of these harmful rays, allowing only 1/50th (or 2%) to reach the skin. SPF 50+ is recommended for individuals with fair, sensitive skin or those prone to sunburns.


  • Provides excellent protection against UVB rays.

  • Ideal for prolonged sun exposure, outdoor activities, or when visiting areas with intense sunlight.

  • Reduces the risk of sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer.


  • May be more expensive compared to lower SPF options.

  • Requires regular reapplication, especially after swimming or excessive sweating.

  • Higher SPF levels do not imply longer sun protection duration; reapplication is essential regardless.

Our Picks:

Love Sun Body Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50


By understanding the purpose and varying levels of SPF, along with multiple brand recommendations, you can choose the sunscreen that suits your needs and preferences. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 15 and Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 15 are suitable for daily use, while La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 30 and Coppertone Ultra Guard Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 provide increased protection for most skin types. For maximum protection, especially for fair or sensitive skin, consider using EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46 or Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF 50.

Remember, regardless of the SPF level, it is essential to apply sunscreen generously and reapply it every two hours, or more frequently if sweating or swimming. Additionally, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using other sun-protective measures alongside sunscreen will further enhance your defense against harmful UV rays.

By making well-informed choices and utilizing the right sunscreen, you can keep your skin healthy, youthful, and protected from the sun's harmful rays. Stay safe and enjoy the sun responsibly!


Please keep in mind that the brand recommendations mentioned in this blog post are intended as suggestions for product purchase. As the author, I have extensively researched and considered various factors in selecting these sunscreens. While I have not personally used each of these specific products, I have based my recommendations on a combination of customer reviews, expert opinions, and the reputation of the brands.

It's crucial to understand that individual preferences, skin types, and sensitivities may vary, so it's always advisable to conduct your own research and consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist for personalized recommendations. What works well for one person may not work the same way for another.

That being said, I personally value the importance of sun protection and have taken great care to recommend products that I would trust for myself, my family, and my friends. Sunscreen is a vital tool in safeguarding our skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation, and choosing the right one is a decision that should be made thoughtfully.

I hope that the information provided in this blog post has been helpful in guiding you toward making informed choices when it comes to selecting sunscreen. Remember to prioritize your skin's health, stay protected, and enjoy the sun responsibly!

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.