Skin Care Tips: What is SPF?

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Getting a daily dose of sun is vital for our bodies. We are like plants, we need the sun. Sun rays activate Vitamin D and help it get to work in our bodies. But, all extremes are bad. And when it comes to Sun exposure, we raise more red flags than wanted. The atmosphere’s layers have changed, due to pollution, and our exposure to harmful rays is more vulnerable now than decades ago. The correct use of sunscreens is important to prevent long term damage to our skin, like cancer.

Although we don’t feel the intense summer rays on our skin yet, it is important to protect the skin from the UV rays even during early spring days.

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What is SPF? 

Sunscreens, also called sun blocks, suntan lotions and many other terms, have labeled SPF on them along with a number next to it. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it measures the ability of a sunscreen to block UVB from damaging the skin. UVB rays are one of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. These are the rays that cause redness and sunburn. The other type of rays are UVA which penetrate deeper into the skin and cause wrinkling, sagging and other light-induced effects of aging. Both types of radiation are associated with skin cancer.

How does SPF work

  • SPF is the amount of light that induces redness in sunscreen-protected skin, divided by the amount of light that induces redness in unprotected skin. It extends the time of getting sunburned.
  • A sunscreen with SPF 15 will filter 92% of the UVB. In other words, if it takes a person 10 minutes to get sunburned, using a SPF 15, it will take 150 minutes instead. The SPF 15 sunscreen allows the person to stay out in the sun 15 times longer.
  • The SPF scale is not linear. SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98%. When using a sunscreen with higher SPF numbering, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more or total protection. No sunscreen can block all UV rays.

Recommendations when using sunscreen 

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  • Apply correctly: Most people apply sunscreen incorrectly because they apply half or a quarter of what should be applied. Half applying a SPF 30 sunscreen provides a SPF of 5.5. This is why a proper amount, as indicated in the bottle, should be applied, at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. Also, the same amount should be reapplied every 2 hours.
  • Take considerations: If you’re going to take a swim or practice a sport is important to use stronger, water-resistant, beachwear-type sunscreen that holds together in your skin. If you applied sunscreen before doing any of these activities, make sure to reapply after doing them, or even after toweling off or sweating a great deal.
  • Daily applications: Dermatologists today consider essential to wear sunscreen on a daily basis; not only when you spend your time outdoors. Windows can filter out UVB rays, but not UVA rays. Wearing clothes with SPF protection is also recommended when spending too much time under the Sun.

Call us today to schedule a consultation and begin your personalized skin care plan!


Hellenic Laser Spa is located in Lowry Town Center, on 7465 East 1st Ave., Suite C.  All our treatments are performed by laser trained professionals, licensed estheticians and certified injection specialists. We offer: CO2 Fractional Treatment, Injectables and Fillers, Skin Resurfacing treatments, Laser Hair Reduction, Teeth Whitening, and many more. Check our prices.

Contact us for more information: 303.366.3222 or email us at
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