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What is the Sun Protecting Factor (SPF) For Your Skin Type?

The largest organ of the human body is your skin and it is the one thing most people will notice about you first off. You skin is vitally important both medically and socially so taking care it properly is imperative. Taking proper care means knowing how to care for your particular skin type, especially when you are talking about SPF.

You Skin and the Sun

The skin, regardless of tone or color will react when exposed to the sun’s rays repeatedly. This reaction can be in the form of tough, leathery skin or wrinkles just to name a few. The bottom line is, by the time you are just past middle aged, your skin will be wrinkled and rough looking if not properly cared for. The number one thing you must protect your skin from is the sun. The easiest way to avoid damage from the sun would be to avoid the sun entirely, but that is not really feasible now is it? Take heart, there are sensible ways to take care of the most important organ you possess.


Protecting yourself from sun exposure is the best way to keep your skin looking great and healthy. The simplest protection for your skin is a sun block with some degree of UV protection. The UV protection is generally measured as an SPF concentration.

SPF stands simply for Sun Protection Factor. Sun block products will have this listed as a number on the label or bottle. There are many different concentrations of SPF sunscreen you can choose from. Sunscreen can protect you from UVA or UVB sunrays; the latter is the one, which causes your skin to burn. If you want maximum protection, you should choose an SPF sunscreen that will protect you from both types of UV rays.

SPF Number Definition

When you are talking about sunscreen and the SPF rating, you will find a set of numbers corresponding to the SPF initials. You have probably seen SPF 15, or SPF 20 listed on the products label but do you know what it actually means? The number is actually a measurement of the time the product will protect your skin from turning red versus the amount of time with no protection on your skin at all.

If the computation sounds a bit confusing, rest assured it is not that complicated. The SPF rating simply gives you an indication of how long you can remain in the sun with protection when compared to your time in the sun without protection.

For example if you would begin to redden after 20 minutes exposure and you use an SPF 15, you can stay out in the sun for 15 times longer with the sunscreen applied. When you calculate it, the amount of time you could be in the sun with this sun block applies is approximately 5 hours.

Your Skin Type

Whether you are fair, skinned or dark will also play a role in choosing your sunscreen. The SPF rating that is right for you will depend a lot on the type of skin you have. Below are the most common skin types and the recommended SPF ratings.


Young children will need skin protection if they are going to be playing outdoors. For children of at least 6 months of age you should choose a baby sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15. This should prevent any burning or tanning of their delicate skin.

Extremely Fair

Some people have very fair skin, and it will burn in a hurry. If you are very light, you probably never tan and burn instead. Your SPF rating should be at least 20.


Fair skin will burn nearly as easily as the above skin type. You may tan on occasion but it is never a very dark tan, for you SPF of 12-20 would be good.


Light-skinned people tend to burn more moderately. You can tan a bit over time achieving a light brown skin tone. Your skin will thank you for SPF 8-12.


If you have a medium skin tone, you probably rarely burn. You achieve a nice brown shade when you tan, most of the time. For this skin tone, an SPF of 4-8 is about right.


Dark skin tends to never burn; you do not have any issues related to sunburns. As a general rule, you tan quite well and wind up with a dark skin tone. Your sunscreen should be in the SPF 2-4 range.

Source by Gaetane Ross

About Maria Kane

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