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How To Choose The Best Sunscreen – Sponsored By Surface

Surface Protection Facts
Aug 2015
Categories: Tutorials
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We understand that sun care can be confusing.

Surface has created Surface Protection Facts (SPF’s) to help you understand the basics. See below.

Surface Protection Facts

Surface Protection Fact #1

SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor”, what does this mean? This is the protection rating for UVB or the ultraviolet rays that burn the skin. The sun gives off two ultra violet rays UVB and UVA. UVA rays are the long wave rays that age the skin while the UVB rays are the short range waves that burn the skin. When you hear the term SPF (Sun Protection Factor) this is always referring to the UVB burn rate.


SPF Protection ChartSPF Ratings are incremental. An SPF 30 is not double the UVB protection as a SPF 15. Most people think that the SPF Rating is the level of protection, it’s not. The SPF number is the time rating in the sun and not the UVB protection level specifically.

Surface Protection Facts

As the graph shows the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 is only 1% difference in UVB protection. In short the SPF rating gives a false sense of security if it’s not properly understood.

It is for this reason that Surface focuses on the use of the product more than a large variety of SPF ratings in our offering. We believe the environment for using sunscreen changes and your sunscreen needs to change with it.


Not all skin is created equal so not everyone’s burn rate is the same. The SPF rating is based on comparing the time it takes to burn when wearing sunscreen versus the time it takes without sunscreen. If a person takes 5 minutes to burn without sunscreen and they wear an SPF 10 it will take 10 times longer to burn or 50 minutes. If the same person puts on SPF 30 it would take 150 minutes or 2.5 hours. Every burn rate is specific to the person using the sunscreen, just keep in mind that the difference is really made by reapplying sunscreen rather than using a higher SPF. As a general rule


What is Broad Spectrum Sunscreen and why is it important? The term broad spectrum sunscreen refers to sunscreens that protect from both UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays. Why do you want that? we will explain:

UVA Rays: The Rays That Age The Skin

  • Go deep into skin layers damaging the cells
  • Are not affected by weather or altitude (yes even if it’s cloudy outside)
  • Cause wrinkles, changes the elasticity of the skin and changes pigmentation
  • Increase the risk of skin cancer
  • Can affect skin through glass in your car, home or office
  • Are up to 50 times stronger than UVB rays

UVB Rays: The Rays That Burn The Skin

  • Cause the red burn on the outer layer of skin
  • Causes the sunburn and tan that can lead to the risk of skin cancer
  • Are affected by the time of day, weather and season.

To achieve a broad spectrum sunscreen status certain FDA approved active ingredients must be used. What do active ingredients do? They protect from the harmful UVA and UVB rays however they don’t all do the same thing. In short this graph below should help you understand what each active ingredient protects from and how much it protects.

Surface Protection Facts

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