SPF – Most of us know that SPF means that the product will protect our skin from sun damage, but I really have no idea what SPF actually stands for. SPF basically stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the higher the number SPF (eg SPF 15), the more protection the product will give your skin against the sun’s harmful rays.
Paula Begoun had the following to say, regarding SPF:
“Most commonly seen as SPF, it is a number that is assigned to a product that identifies its ability to protect the skin from sunburn or to protect the skin from turning pink or red when exposed to sun. SPF numbering is regulated by the FDA, and is a measure of the amount of time a person can stay in the sun without getting burned if a sunscreen is applied. Because sunburn results from UVB radiation, not UVA radiation, SPF is primarily a measure of UVB protection. At this time, there is no numbering system to indicate the level of protection a sunscreen can provide from UVA radiation, which affects the deeper layers of skin.”
**Updated by Kat M 01/05/2011**