How do I choose a sunscreen?

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF or "Sun Protection Factor" 15 or higher. Remember to select a waterproof product if you plan to be in the water.

What does UVB stand for?

UVB stands for ultraviolet B rays. These are the rays that are the primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer.

UVB rays are strongest between 11 am and 4 pm and during the summer months. UVB rays are more powerful and damaging to the skin than UVA rays. Mostly, they affect the surface of our skin.

What does UVA stand for?

UVA is the short form for ultraviolet A rays. Although not as powerful as UVB rays, these rays can penetrate deep into the skin, where they damage collagen fibers. This results in  premature aging of the skin. UVA rays can also contribute to skin cancer. A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays and some UVA rays.

What does SPF mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF of a product relates to the amount of time you can stay in the sun without your skin burning, compared to being in the sun without protection.

If the product label says "SPF 15" this means that you can stay in the sun 15 times longer without burning than you would be able to without protection. For example, if you do not wear sunscreen and start to burn after 2 minutes of exposure to the sun, wearing a sunscreen with SPF 15 means you would be able to be exposed to the sun for 30 minutes before you start to burn.

SPF 30 and SPF 45 products block more than 96% of the sun's UV rays.

Suzette Alvarez 
with updates by the MediResource Clinical Team