working hours
& contact

Monday & Tuesday 9:00am – 5:00pm

Wednesday 9:00am – 7:00pm

Thursday & Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm

Saturday & Sunday Closed

1170 Dolphin st White Rock, BC, Canada V4B 4G8

Follow Us

Award Winning White Rock Spa, Essence Of L Medi Spa (604) 619-4959

Are SPF Numbers Misleading?

When looking for the “Best” sunscreen/sunblock you might think that an SPF protection 60 is twice as strong as a SPF 30, right?…….

Wrong! Logic lets us down when it comes to the numbering system.

Although it makes intuitive sense that choosing an SPF 60 over a 30 would offer the best sunscreen choice- offering the ability to stay out twice as long in the sun without reapplying- the truth is that the SPF numbers don’t really add up that way. This numeric sunscreen language in not consumer-friendly to say the least. In fact, the numbers are more misleading than you may think! Here is a reality check.

SPF stands for Sunscreen Protection Factor which theoretically refers to the amount of time you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned compared to going without sunblock. For example, an SPF 15 should allow you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you could without protection. So if you could tolerate the sun, unprotected, for 20 minutes before turning red, you should be able to stay out for 300 minutes right?

Wrong! Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple and this is where consumers get confused.

Here is the TRUTH in Sunscreen SPF Numbers


As you can see from the chart above, SPF numbers correlate more to the percentage of rays blocked than safe exposure time. And once you get past the SPF 30, your UVB protection basically levels out. Nothing short of living under a rock truly offers you 100% sun protection.

  • SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 45+ blocks about 98% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 blocks about  99% of UVB rays

Essence Of L Medi Spa, as well as most dermatologists, recommend that you use a product with an SPF 30. Just don’t be fooled into thinking that an SPF 50 or 60+ is a “better” product.

The Skin Cancer Foundation points out that “there are problems with the SPF model” First, no sunscreen, regardless of the strength, should be expected to stay effective longer then Two Hours without reapplication. Second, “reddening” of the skin is a reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you very little about what UVA damage you have  induced. Plenty of damage can be done with out the red flag of a sunburn being raised.

Did you know that a sunscreen’s SPF factor only protects against UVB (B for burning) rays? UVA Rays, which penetrate deeper, are the more damaging rays- responsible for premature aging, wrinkles, and can cause melanoma.

Best Sunscreen for Both UVA & UVB Protection?

Since products that are listed with an SPF number alone won’t protect you from most UVA rays, look for a “Broad Spectrum Sunscreen” which contains a physical block such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Essence Of L Medi Spa’s Recommendation for the best sunscreen for the face is Glymed Plus Photo Age Environmental Protection Gel 15 or Glymed Plus Photo Age Environmental Protection Gel 30+

Bio-blended, non irritating, oil free and extremely safe for ALL colors of skin, these ultra light formulations contain the strong antioxidant power of green tea and echinacea extracts balanced with a physical sun block for added immune protection.

 Bottom Line: Use SPF 30+ and Reapply throughout the day.

Even if you apply your sunscreen before you go out in the morning doesn’t mean that you are protected for the rest of the day. Your morning application will leave you unprotected before lunchtime. Please remember to reapply every 2-3 hours. And check the expiration date on the bottle. Last years sunscreen will have a limited life span.