The Great Sunscreen Debate: What SPF Level is Best for You?

The Great Sunscreen Debate: What SPF Level is Best for You?

Can’t decide between SPF 15, 30 or 50? Here’s how to find your number…

This post comes to you from beauty contributor, Kari Molvar.

Sun-filled weekends and festival days are finally here, which means it’s time to up your SPF game. But with all the different protection levels out there, it can be hard to figure out what’s right for you. Is there really a difference between SPF 30 and 50? And why isn’t there one standard SPF number? To answer these questions and more, we turned to Jordana Mattioli, a NYC licensed medical esthetician and sun protection guru for some skin-saving advice.

First, a quick lesson in SPF. What exactly does it protect you from? 

SPF stands for “sun protection factor,” and it measures your sunscreen protection from UVB rays. Think about this way: If your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer, hence SPF 15). It’s not an exact estimate though. Also, SPF does not measure how well a sunscreen will protect from UVA rays. While UVB rays are what cause physical sunburns, UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply and are associated with aging. They also increase the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own. That’s why it’s super important to look for a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection.”

Why do we have different SPF levels—why don’t we just have one standard? 

The FDA didn’t introduce SPF measures until the mid 70s, and even though it’s been quite some time, they are very slow with adapting new regulations! But just this past year, some newer regulations were passed: The FDA now requires sunscreen products with SPF lower than 15 to include a warning. It reads: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.” This same warning must appear on sunscreen products that are not broad spectrum.

Would you recommend a low level SPF 15 to anyone?

Darker skin types can use a lower level, such as SPF15, since they have more melanin in their skin, which does give some protection. However, I really recommend everyone start at SPF 30. Darker skin may not sunburn as easily as those with fair skin, but they are still at risk of skin damage from sun exposure.

What’s the difference between SPF 30 and 50? How do you choose between them?

SPF 30 is the most common level for most people and skin types. No sunscreen can block all UV rays, but what we do know is: SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. So, the difference between 30 and 50 is about 1 percent. But every bit of extra protection can be beneficial if you are very fair or spending a lot of time in direct sun! And most people apply less than the recommend amount (about one ounce for full body coverage), so the higher the number the better.

Are there any drawbacks to using a higher SPF?

There is often a false sense of security with higher numbers. You think since you’re wearing a higher level, you are invincible to the sun, and that’s just not the case. Most of us also forget that SPF is only at its most active for about two hours, so you need to reapply it often.

Does the product texture change as you move higher up in SPF level? How does it impact the look and feel of it?

The product texture can change, but it’s not very noticeable. It’s more about the types of sunscreens ingredients used. Physical sunscreens made with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide will usually be slightly more opaque then chemical sunscreens. But many sunscreens now combine several different active chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients in order to provide broad-spectrum protection.

What SPF level do you wear?  

I personally wear SPF 30 every day, all year, rain or shine—it’s just become a habit! My skin is acne-prone and sensitive to chemical sunscreens so I stick with physical sunscreens only.

Looking for more fun-in-the-sun products? Check out our full collection here!

+ How do you practice safe sun? What’s your go-to SPF level? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo by Jana Kirn.

Free People Blog

Why You Need: Soleil Toujours

Revolutionizing the way we think about sunscreen…

While it may not feel like it to some of us (looking at you, mid-March snowstorm along the eastern seaboard!), summer is mere months away, which means beach days, lazy lounging in freshly-cut grass, dining al fresco and more time spent outside soaking up all this gorgeous season has to offer.

And while I invite—nay, encourage—you all to spend as much time outdoors as possible as soon as the weather decides to cooperate, loading up on sun protection before you even think about heading out the door is a crucial first step. While you may rock an SPF all year round, the sun’s rays are especially strong during the summer since UV exposure is greatest from May to August in the U.S. Not only that, but the heat means you’re likely sweating more than usual which is an open invitation for anything you apply topically to slide right off. So when it comes to finding summer-friendly sun protection, there are three main things you’ll want to look for: a product that’s water-resistant, protects against both UVA and UVB rays (UVA rays prematurely age skin, UVB rays burn skin), and has a high enough SPF to actually do its job. And if you find a brand that does all of these things wonderfully, organically and in beautiful packaging, all the better.

Which brings us to Soleil Toujours, a collection of cutting-edge sun protection products that not only keep those nasty UV rays away from your skin, but do so while containing some of the world’s finest, safest, naturally-based and organic ingredients. Gone are the days when your only clean sunscreen option was either thick, white zinc oxide or something that didn’t work past the first five minutes and needed constant reapplication. According to Valerie McMurray, founder and CEO of Soleil Toujours—and mother of three with an acute awareness of harmful sunscreen ingredients—she “wanted to revolutionize the way we think about sunscreen [by] infusing modern glamour into exceptional, high-quality products that validate a healthy, discerning lifestyle.”

So yes, McCurray’s products block your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but their mineral-based formulas also rejuvenate and repair thanks to antioxidant and anti-aging ingredients, like argan oil, green tea extract, vitamin E, turmeric extract and rosehip seed oil. A line of products that can protect my skin from the sun while simultaneously making it look better? Sign me up.

Before you head outside:

Start your day by killing two skin steps with one stone with a makeup that doubles as an SPF. The 100% Mineral Sunscreen Glow boasts an SPF of 30 and will happily replace the foundation you definitely don’t want to be wearing in the heat. The lotion is subtly tinted (think of it like a BB or CC cream) and leaves skin dewy with a hint of shimmer, all while protecting and nourishing the skin. What makes the Mineral Sunscreen Glow such a rockstar product is the level of protection it offers the delicate skin of your face while feeling virtually weightless. Unlike a lot of other mineral sunscreens—which are also known as physical sunscreens because they typically sit on top of the skin, physically blocking UV rays—you probably won’t even realize you’re wearing this since ingredients like aloe leaf juice (softening and soothing), mugwort extract (anti-inflammatory) and licorice root extract (ultra hydrating) make the zinc oxide basically undetectable on your skin.

Top it off with the Organic Set + Protect Micro Mist S.P.F. 30, a lightweight mist that will leave your skin hydrated, glowing and protected pretty much all day, and act as a setting spray for any makeup you don’t want melting off your face.

While you’re outside:

My preferred method of sunscreen application is to stand naked in a bathroom in front of a mirror and apply layers and layers of the stuff to make sure I’ve adequately coated every single millimeter of my very-prone-to-burning skin. And still, I end up with weird patches of red skin, probably because I am very bad at reapplying evenly throughout the day. But I have a feeling this summer will be different now that I’ve got a mist in the mix—even those impossible-to-reach places (and the ones that are easy to reach that I just have a mental block against) don’t stand a chance next to the Organic Sheer Sunscreen Mist.

Normally formulated with oxybenzone and octinoxate—two common sunscreen chemicals that also happen to be known endocrine disruptors and allergens—this mist instead relies on Soleil Toujours’ EcoSun Complex, a formula composed of red algae, vitamin C ester, vitamin E and bisabolol, which together act as a natural SPF booster and reduce UV damage. It’s also water resistant for up to 80 minutes, so assuming you’re not swimming laps all day, this should stand up to everyday sweat.

When the day is done:

You’re home from your super-fun day of outdoor activities and believe it or not, you’re completely sunburn-free. Feels good, right? Listen, there’s nothing wrong with a healthy glow, but you do have to be careful about how you get it. If this piece has taught you anything, it’s that sun protection is critically important to the health and wellness of your skin (not to mention how it ages quicker when there’s sun damage involved). So instead of worshipping the sun in the name of a little bronze, fake it.

The Apres Soleil Exotic Shimmer Body Oil takes everything your 12-year-old self loved about sparkly body lotions and classes it up, imparting your skin with a subtle shimmery bronze hue while also making sure it’s properly nourished. Yes, your (subtle) golden goddess fantasies will come true with the body oil, but let’s not forget the healing power of its ingredients, especially after a day in the sun. Rose hip seed oil works to regenerate skin cells, argan oil heals tissues, and pomegranate seed oil is a strong anti-inflammatory just in case you start noticing any creeping redness. Then green tea leaf extract swoops in to neutralize free radicals while rosemary leaf extract soothes, tones and tightens. Oh, and the sweet almond oil makes for a killer moisturizing base.

And for your beautiful, sunburn-free face, there’s the Organic Aloe Antioxidant Calming Mist. True to its name, this stuff is the ultimate in skin pampering thanks to the aloe leaf juice which will replenish your skin’s moisture levels and fight off any irritation or potential swelling. Then there’s the combination of red algae, vitamin C Ester and vitamin E which work in tandem to reduce free radical damage and brighten skin. And the pomegranate extract in the mist works overtime, enhancing the topical effectiveness of the sunscreen you’ll apply diligently the next day.

Because you will be applying SPF the next day. And the day after that…forever.

+ Ready to beat those rays? Check out all our SPF options here!

Awakenings: Wake with Elegance

This week, think about the energy of these products inside your day elegance program to form your entire day from its begin…

This is actually the last payment in a-4-component series about awareness with elegance by Jolene Hart, wellness mentor and writer of the Consume Fairly guide collection.

The options while you begin every day you create are a few of the very impactful for wellness and your elegance. Mdash your program&;including ideas, diet, motion, and home- mdash & treatment;sets the tone for the whole evening.

This week, think about these products inside your day beauty’s energy program to shape from its start. Your program influences self-confidence and your attitude throughout long-term, in addition to the day &nbsp health, because their method is rapidly found by the elements within our beauty items into our anatomies.

Personally I think that a few of the elements that are most significant to prevent in personal-care items are individuals with hormone- disrupting effects phthalates present in artificial scents, such as for example preservatives, and also the sunscreen oxybenzone. Changing traditional items for organic and natural options can easily create a huge difference within the evening-today existence of particular substances within you, confirmed with a 2016 research completed in Florida.

I recommend visitors and my customers to think about the  re, big-picture: their elegance programs, when first considering changing items that are traditional for organic and natural options. Take into account the items that you simply utilize most abundant in regularity (don’t overlook something similar to toothpaste, that you utilize several occasions each day), within the best area of one’s physique (hello, body product and acrylic), as well as in places which are delicate (armpits, for instance). Don& rsquo overlook items that you simply actually ingest— glosses, lipsticks and lotions.

Listed here are the most effective six item groups I’d begin with, along with some of my leading organic and natural item selects at Free Individuals:

Face: Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Acrylic

Body: Pangea Organics Body Gas

Lips: Liquid Beauty Lip Moisturizer; Vapour Alarm Lipstick

Deodorant: Schmidt’s Deodorant Stay

Sun-Protection: Suntegrity 5-in-1 Colored Face Sunscreen

Toothpaste: David’s Advanced Natural Toothpaste

Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP is just a Philly-centered wellness mentor and founding father of Elegance Is Wellness, an all natural elegance and wellness training exercise. Her training and Consume Fairly guide collection shows ladies to make use of diet and lifestyle options to appear and experience their finest in the inside out. 

Here Comes Sunlight (Stop)!

Why changing to organic sunscreen is essential for you personally (and our whole world)…

This article originates from contributor Altman and our beloved buddy .

For many of my entire life, when it found purchasing sunblock, there is just one three-page term that impacted my buying choice. Is it possible to speculate? No? That term my buddy, is SPF (okay good, I understand SPF is definitely an acronym, not officially a term — nobody walks around stating it loudly like “spppppffff” — however, you obtain the stage…)

Easily purchased a sunscreen by having an SPF of 9, I understood I had been meant for a powerful bronze and/or perhaps a burn similar to an indignant seafood; likewise, when seeing SPF-50 and a large straw-hat, I understood I possibly could maintain my organic pasty goth appearance.

While walking down the sunscreen area in the nearby pharmacy, my easy thinking brought me to buy regardless of the cheapest sunblock using the greatest SPF was, slather it on my encounter and throat, and start my evening…

Properly, the changing times they’re a-changin (!) and, once we are finding more and more, what we place in our anatomies (through meals and topically, through beauty items) might have an enormous effect on our wellness. Prejudice is bliss, nevertheless when it involves sun-protection, prejudice is bliss(ters)… (continue reading which means this horrible laugh makes a bit more feeling…)

Listed here are 8 sunlight-connected “FUN DETAILS” I’ve learned all about sun and skin safety that have brought me to alter my sunscreen buying choices and steer clear of pharmacy manufacturers in support of organic suncare options…

Sunshine Fun Fact Number 1: the skin we have is the body’s biggest wood and, because it’s comprised of small pores, nearly all what we placed on the outer skin gets consumed and adopts our anatomies as though we’d consumed it, including beauty items and sunscreen.

Sunshine Fun Reality #2the term, im, acronym “SPF” means Sunlight Guarding Element and describes the theoretical period of time an individual can remain in sunlight without getting sunburned. For instance, an SPF of 45 allows one to remain in sunlight ..

(Note: I’m not certain if this can be a “enjoyment reality” or just a discussion beginning, therefore moving forward I’ll allow you to choose for oneself if it’s enjoyable or not…)

Sunlight (Possibly Enjoyable) Reality #2: There’s no medical evidence that any SPF more than 50 really shields skin somewhat better. For instance, utilizing an SPF of 100 isn’t dual an SPF 50’s safety, no more than 1-percent greater. (Ok, perhaps that one is certainly not really a fun reality. For that rest of the post I’ll allow you to choose if these truth is enjoyable or not…)

Sunlight Reality #3It’s essential that people people acquire 20 units of sun-exposure each day (without sunscreen) so our anatomies may create the all too-essential Supplement D3, that will be accountable for a lot of good stuff like guarding our immune programs, raising our emotions, helping combat melanoma and psychological disability. More than 70% of the populace is Vitamin-D poor, meaning nearly all us have to save money time outdoors and possibly consider Vitamin-D products. (Note: Talk To your physician to ensure you are able to manage 20 units of sunlight each day, particularly as this 20-moment principle differs for individuals of various complexions and and it is favorable towards the season…)

Sunlight Reality #4Reasonable sunlight is fantastic but, if you should be likely to be exterior for over 20 units, it’s very important to hide with a few type of sun-protection in order to steer clear of the likelihood of burning and health issues for example skin melanoma down the road…

Sunlight Reality #5Sunscreens come mainly in 2 types — chemical sunscreen and spring sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens absorb straight into the skin , while vitamin sunscreens referred to as & rdquo,& ldquo blockers; have the ability to remain in the skin s area. Nutrient sunblocks are created utilizing dioxide and zinc-oxide.

Sunlight Reality #6Chemical sunblocks constitute nearly all the local pharmacy variety and, when I’ve discovered, include unnecessarily poisonous elements like oxybenzone, that has been associated with cancers, hormone interruption and more. (Yikes!)

Sunlight Reality #7: as though chemical sunscreens weren’t poor enough, when you use one and get into the sea, the oxybenzone and paraben elements often wash-off in to the water (even when the sunscreen promises to become waterproof) and, consequently, toxin marine-life and bleach our fragile barrier reef program. (Yikes again!)  

should you enjoy ANY facet of the sea (or our world in general), I plead of that you don’t use conventional chemical sunscreen while boating! The seafood plead of you also! (P.S. May seafood get creases? Sorry, tangent…)

So rsquo & what;s a sunlight-caring woman to complete?!

Fortunately, there’s an answer and there is naturally-derived our body Earth or sunblocks that may easily support safeguard the skin without hurting your body.

Presenting Free People’s Sunlight Team — Liquid BeautyCoolaSuntegrityAllow It To Stop and EiR

Whether you’re buying colored cosmetic lotion, activities sunscreen or lipbalm, we’ve you coated (without risking your wellbeing or even the world’s…). Among the most popular manufacturers, Allow It To Stop, was recently granted many eco-friendly sunscreen by Surfrider Business! (I’m presently utilizing GOTH STOP by Allow It To Stop when I sort this, btw.)


+ Which sublock that is organic will you use to savor our world?

Discover our total selection of sun-protection BELOW.

How’s Your Relationship Using The Sunlight?

Post image for How’s Your Relationship With The Sun?

Mine s challenging. It s a love that is total /dislike. I m dreamin;, and continuously wishin, hopin&rsquo for a sunlit evening, however discover myself when it ultimately arrives to remain covering.

Around I’deb prefer to fake I was a carefree beach-bum who might invest hours efficiently bouncing across the seaside with no fear on the planet, examining off all the “awesome woman” containers, lookin’ all brown and sexy in my own swimsuit… I’m not. I obtain a tad stressed. Sunlight is just a large, vibrant, point that is stunning however frightening. It may do some harm that is severe. And that I find myself continuously struggling between having severe burns, and severe seaside FOMO. Therefore, how can stability is achieved by us? Do I over-believe everything a lot more then the majority of my buddies who kill about the seaside each summer-vacation? Perhaps. Absolutely. But hello, I’m doin’ my greatest wood (my skin), an enormous benefit. And two decades from I, today ’ll be thanking my home that is 24-year old.

This is actually the greatest guidance myself is given by me on the daily schedule. Would you, woman! I might be that woman with, like, 15 caps on, 100 SPF, plus a cover-up when I stroll in the home towards the seaside, but I’m doin’ me! Don’t hesitate to complete you. Below’s how my connection using the sunlight is producing some improvement…

Obtain The Search: Az Birkenstock

Preparation. I’m an adviser, what exactly? Easily understand my trip to the seaside (or on the backpack, in the swimming… you receive the gist) will be 90-degrees and sunlit, I love to recommend heading at the same time the ultraviolet list (which may be located on the climate application in your iPhone), is gloomier. The greatest ultraviolet is generally between 11-3’s hours, therefore my brain at-peace, and operating around these hours helps maintain the poor burning absent.

Lather. Getting A great sunscreen that isn’t saturated in substances and major issues for my skin has created me as pleased like a clam. Select whichever SPF which makes you are feeling comfy, but I would recommend at least 30 or more. Providing oneself sometime is crucial and wearing your sunscreen before you receive fitted and mind outdoors. It offers the skin period you and to digest.

Decorate. Caps, connections, sunnies, and umbrellas are accepted. I ve unearthed that when I m sporting components that help maintain up my assurance and safeguard my skin, I’ m comfy and certainly will relax much more.

Hooky. when you have to omit each day about the seaside since the skin’s experienced sufficient, don’t fear! Get a guide and take a seat underneath the terrace having a coverup on the patio. A few hours together with rsquo & your buddies isn;t not as unimportant as your wellbeing. It s apparent whenever your skin is suggesting rsquo & it . Lather in certain aloe, and ignore it.

+How would you maintain a pleased,, connection that is healthy using the sunlight? I would like to understand within the remarks

Follow FP Madisyn on Instagram + have a look at her website