Take advice from Australian actor Hugh Jackman, who underwent treatment for basal cell carcinoma for the third time in 2014, and has since spoken out on the importance of using sun protection, as well as getting regular check-ups.

The truth is, there’s an overwhelming amount of sun protection products available in the market, but very little is known about which one would suit you best. The problem of plenty can leave you confused, but with knowledge comes the power to make better decisions. Sunblock, sunscreen, SPF, UVA, UVB—it’s time for a quick lesson to discuss everything under the sun.

Know Your Jargon
Every bottle of sun lotion comes with SPF in bold. But what does SPF mean? It simply means Sun Protection Factor. SPF is used to measure the amount UV radiation it would take to affect one’s skin. There are two types of Ultra Violet radiations that causes damage. UVA, or ‘Aging’ caused by sun damage, and UVB, or ‘Burning’ caused by extended sun exposure, which can takes as little as 10 minutes.

Knowing which SPF is ideal for you directly correlates to the amount of time you spend outdoors.

Here’s a simple formula to help you figure it out: SPF Number x Time to Burn without Protection = Time to Burn with Protection. So, if you’re someone who spends two hours a day, outdoors, SPF 15 would be ideal for you. Here’s why. SPF 15 x 10 minutes = 150 minutes of protection.


Know Your Protector
Sun protection comes in two variants—physical and chemical. Sunblock is physical, while sunscreen is of the chemical variety. Put simply, sunblock which contains both organic and non-organic ingredients, simply sits on top of your skin and forms a protective shield against harmful UV rays.

Sunscreen, on the other hand, penetrates your skin and absorbs the UV rays, before they reach your dermal layer, causing damage. But that still leaves us wondering, which is the better option? Chemicals that absorb the harmful rays or organic components that simply acts as a barrier?

Sunblock is crafted to protect against UVB rays, while sunscreen shields against UVA. What we have to remember is that we need a little bit of both, or as it’s known over-the-counter, what we ideally need is a broad-spectrum formula. Luckily, sun protection products come with formulas that contain ingredients, which protect against both UVA and UVB rays.


Know How Much To Apply
A little goes a long way. And the same applies to sunblock. Contrary to what people say, slathering on lotion doesn’t mean extra protection. All you need is a shot glass worth, preferably 30 minutes prior to stepping out, and you’re golden. However, how many times you’re going to have to re-apply is all on you. If you’re someone who sweats a lot, or you’re going to be in water, you might want to consider another dollop-full in 4 hours.

No matter what the SPF, or how great the product, caring for your skin is a continuous process that will always require your attention. Knowing your skin type and what suits you best will help you stay protected.

Read More:
Make Your Own Screening Solution To Avoid Sun Damage
Reverse Sun Damage With These Home Remedies
A Pocketful Of Sunshine For Your Health

Charlene Flanagan is a lifestyle journalist whose love for language drove her to earn her Bachelor’s degree in English literature, as well as pursue her Masters in Arts. Over the last five years, she’s contributed to a number of leading publications, and has particularly enjoyed reviewing books and restaurants, as well as interviewing celebrities. Her recent switch to a holistic lifestyle has her looking at her food choices very differently—although she won’t admit it. When she’s not busy writing up about workouts, home remedies, and skincare essentials, she spends her time being the quintessential city girl who’s excited to see what life has in store for her.