What does the 50 in SPF50+ mean?

What does the 50 in SPF50+ mean?

SPF stands for ‘sun protection factor’ and the 50 in SPF50 refers to the amount of protection the sun screen offers compared to unprotected skin.

SPF 50+ sunscreens are formulated to allow less damaging rays to reach your skin’s surface than lower SPF sunscreens. For example, when applied correctly, SPF30+ allows 3.3% of UVB rays to reach your skin while SPF 50+ allows only 2% to reach your skin. This may not sound like much of a difference, but over a lifetime of UV exposure, it all adds up.


What level of protection do other SPFs offer?

In general, the SPF number refers to the theoretical amount of time you can stay in the sun and be protected without getting burnt, compared to unprotected skin. For example, SPF30 allows you to stay in the sun with less risk of sunburn for thirty times longer than you would if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.

However, there are factors that influence this and can reduce the amount of protection offered, including: the fairness of your skin; physical activity that may cause the product to sweat or rub off; water exposure; and most importantly, correct application.

Make sure you check out our sunscreen application tips to ensure you are applying your product correctly to ensure maximum protection, and cover up exposed skin where possible.


If I wear higher SPF, can I apply less often?

If I wear higher SPF, can I apply less often?

A higher SPF sunscreen does not mean you can apply less often. You still need to apply your sunscreen correctly, and reapply at regular intervals to prevent sunburn.

Research has shown that Australian consumers do not apply enough sunscreen to reach the SPF levels on sunscreen labelling – that means, even if you are using SPF50+, if you are not applying enough you will not have the protection you think you do!

Similarly, layering different SPFs does not add up to a higher SPF. Applying an SPF20+ on top of an SPF30+ does not mean you are wearing SPF 50 sunscreen.


Is higher SPF always better?

In short, yes. While there are many levels of SPF available, and some people burn less quickly than others, every one should be wearing SPF 30+ at minimum, but preferably SPF 50+ to ensure they are as protected as possible.

Remember: just because you don’t look or feel like you are becoming sunburnt, does not mean sun damage isn’t occurring.

Which SPF should I use?

You should always aim for a higher SPF, but a general guide is to consider how long you will be out in the sun, and your skin type, and choose an appropriate SPF for those circumstances.

Check out our sunscreen application tips for advice on proper sunscreen application so you can ensure you’re properly protected.