What You Need To Know: SPF Edition

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Sun Protection Factor, otherwise known as SPF, seems simple enough, right? An SPF of 30 means that for 30 minutes your skin has a barrier from the UV rays of the sun, and so on and so forth.

That’s what we thought, too, but then the other day we couldn’t decide on what the truth was regarding what level of SPF is best for your skin, and what it’s ACTUALLY doing. So we decided to dig in and learn, so that we can give you and our Poppyseeds (the amazing staff here at P&M) the best possible education.

We all grew up throwing on whatever sunscreen Mom and Dad threw in the beach bag, and the fairest of us probably threw a T-shirt on over that. Then, as we got older, we ditched the sunscreen for tanning oil and, if we’re being honest, a tanning bed or 2. (Maybe even some Sun-In or lemon juice for our hair? Just me??) We weren’t worried about sun protection, we were worried about being as tan as possible.

But we’re older now. Smarter now. And we want to do better for ourselves, and the younger generations around us. And how do we do that? By using better sunscreen, and being smart about sun protection.

First off, NO oxybenzone. It’s an awful endocrine disruptor and it wreaks havoc on the reproductive system of both women and men. It’s also known for organ toxicity, and is incredibly harmful to aquatic life. So much so that Hawaii is banning it in order to protect the coral reefs.

Homosalate: This helps absorb UV light, but it also causes hormone disruption AND it increases your chances of absorbing pesticides. Woof. Another icky chemical found in typical sunscreens? Octinoxate. This bad boy dissolves easily, so sunscreen companies love it, but it’s another endocrine disruptor.

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Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how does SPF work?

Easy. According to skincancer.org, SPF 15 will block about 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 will block about 97%, and SPF 50 will block about 98%. So, 30-50 tends to be the safe zone with only a minimal difference in protection.

We recommend a good SPF rubdown about 20-30 minutes before you head out, with an SPF 30 or 50 for your body, and then an SPF 25-30 (as most skincare brands create facial products with SPF 30) for your face, with a hat for good measure. As far as little ones go? No SPF or direct sun exposure before 6 months. No exceptions. After that? We recommend a good sunshirt and sunhat on top of SPF, and breaks for every 30-60 minutes of sun exposure.

Our favorites for face? Marie Veronique Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30, Hynt SPF 25 Sun Prep Primer, and Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Moisturizer. Our favorites for the bod? Suntegrity, Coola, and Soleil Toujours.

We have a plethora of options available that we can tailor to your exact needs and we are always here to help. We promise to make your day a little brighter, and safer, too!!