Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is more than just a number on a sunscreen bottle is a crucial factor in safeguarding your skin from the sun's harmful rays. Here are five facts your dermatologist wants you to know about SPF to keep your skin healthy and protected.
1. Understanding SPF
SPF measures how well a sunscreen can protect your skin from UVB rays, which are responsible for causing sunburn. The number indicates the level of protection the sunscreen offers.
However, it's essential to note that a higher SPF doesn't mean exponentially more protection. SPF 15 filters out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks around 97%. Going above SPF 30 doesn't offer a significant increase in protection. So, opt for SPF 30 or higher to strike the right balance between shielding and practicality.
2. Broad-Spectrum Protection
Look for sunscreens labeled as "broad-spectrum." This means they protect against UVB rays and also against UVA rays.
UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, contributing to premature ageing and skin cancer. The broad-spectrum designation ensures comprehensive protection, reducing the risk of skin damage and maintaining your skin's health over time.
3. Reapplication Is Non-Negotiable
Regardless of the SPF level you choose, reapplication is a non-negotiable rule. Sunscreen effectiveness diminishes over time due to factors like sweating, swimming, and the passage of time.
Reapply every two hours – more often if you're active to maintain protection. Even water-resistant sunscreens lose their effectiveness after about 40 minutes of water exposure. So, keep that sunscreen handy and make reapplication a habit.
4. Your Skin Type Matters
Your skin type plays a significant role in determining the level of protection you need. Fair-skinned individuals are more susceptible to sunburn, while those with darker skin tones have more natural protection.
However, regardless of skin type, sun protection is essential for everyone. A higher SPF might be necessary for fair-skinned individuals. But even those with more melanin in their skin need protection against UV damage and skin cancer.
5. Beyond Sunscreen
While SPF is essential, it's not the only tool in your sun protection arsenal. Wearing protective clothing, seeking shade during peak sun hours, and using sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats are all crucial steps to minimise sun damage.
Sunscreen complements these measures, but it's not a standalone solution. Incorporate these practices into your routine for comprehensive protection against the sun's harmful effects.
The Best 5 K-Beauty Sunscreen Products
Here are the best K-beauty sunscreen products that we recommend:
1. BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence
This lightweight sunscreen is a cult favourite for a reason. It's known for its watery texture that absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving no greasy residue. Offering UVB and UVA protection, BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence is perfect for daily wear. It's also water-resistant, making it suitable for outdoor activities.
2. MISSHA All Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk
A gem in the K-beauty world, MISSHA All Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk is easy to apply and provides potent sun protection. It contains botanical ingredients that nourish the skin while guarding against UV damage. It's suitable for all skin types and perfect for using it under makeup.
3. DEAR KLAIRS Soft All-Day Airy Sunscreen
DEAR KLAIRS Soft All-Day Airy Sunscreen is designed for those who prefer a barely-there feel. Its soft, airy texture provides protection without clogging pores. This sunscreen is also infused with moisturising ingredients, making it great for individuals with dry or combination skin.
4. COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream
COSRX Aloe Vera Soothing Sun Cream is a go-to choice for a sunscreen that doubles as a skin-soothing agent. Infused with aloe vera leaf extract, it protects against UV rays while calming irritated skin. It's suitable for sensitive skin types and works well under makeup.
5. ETUDE HOUSE Sunprise Mild Watery Light
ETUDE HOUSE Sunprise Mild Watery Light is loved for its matte finish. If you're prone to oily skin, this is a fantastic option. It controls excess sebum and leaves your skin with a smooth, velvety texture. This sunscreen provides reliable protection and is also water-resistant.
Sunscreen is essential, but it's just one piece of the puzzle. Adopt sun-safe practices like wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and using accessories like hats and sunglasses. You're well-equipped to enjoy the outdoors while keeping your skin healthy and radiant by combining these strategies and understanding the ins and outs of SPF.