Contributing Editor: Vivian Nweze

We’ve already discussed how to stay hydrated under the summer sun, but now it’s all about your skin. It’s surprising how many people walk out the door without any SPF on to protect them. That doesn’t fly for #TeamAC! Keep reading to see how much SPF you need in your sunscreen to protect your whole body, no matter what skin type or shade you are!


Sunscreen helps prevent:

-Skin cancer

-Sun burns


-Age spots

-Skin aging prematurely


What is SPF and why is it important? 

The acronym SPF is short for Sun Protection Factor. It’s the benchmark for how strong your sunscreen blocks out harmful UVB rays. It’s always better to go for a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” in an SPF 30, because it blocks out UVB and UVA rays and works for most skin types. Look for avobenzone and zinc oxide in the ingredients list, to specifically protect from UVA rays.


Common SPF Levels


15 SPF

-Blocks 93% of sun’s rays

-Tan to dark skin will be okay with 15 – 30 SPF, because their melanin protects from UV rays.


30 SPF

-Blocks 97% of sun’s rays

-If you have pale skin, light eyes, light hair, freckles, or moles, this is the bare minimum SPF you should have. 50 SPF is still better for you.

-If you use retinol, chemical exfoliators, acids…you’ll want to wear SPF 30 every day. These products leave your skin more vulnerable to UVA rays.


50 SPF 

-Blocks 98% of sun’s rays

-If you burn easily or are often in the sun, go for this level. 

-This is the recommended normal level for  paler skin.


Any amount over 50 SPF

-Not recommended because it only offers marginally more coverage, not full.

-Still left vulnerable to UVA radiation

-100 SPF, in theory has double 50 SPF (98%), but it only blocks 98.5% 

-In 2011, the FDA called  SPF over 50 “inherently misleading”

For particular skin types:


Acne or Oil Prone Skin: “non-comedogenic” sunscreens won’t block your pores


Dry Skin: moisturizers with sunscreen or ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides


Sensitive Skin: physical or mineral sunscreen (containing zinc oxide & titanium dioxide)


Don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours.  If you are going in to the water or heavily sweating re-apply every hour if possible.

1 Comment

  • Mandi

    runs and hides lol! I never use it. But I know that I should. I’ll start looking for some good brands

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