Understanding Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

Understanding Sun Protection Factor (SPF)


SPF 15.

SPF 30.

SPF 50.

What does it all mean?

Understanding SPF is critical to making an informed decision about your sunscreen and ensuring adequate UV protection on the golf course.

In this article, we will decipher the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating and discuss how to choose the right sunscreen for you. 

Decoding SPF

What is SPF

Sun Protection Factor, more commonly known by its acronym SPF, is a measure of how much sun (UV radiation) it takes to produce sunburn on unprotected skin versus skin protected by sunscreen.

SPF is related to the amount of UV exposure your skin receives.

Particularly, the SPF rating measures the level of UVB protection your sunscreen product provides.

UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and inflammation, which if left untreated can lead to the development of skin cancer.

Learn more about UVB radiation here.

Testing SPF

Laboratory tests determine a sunscreen product’s SPF rating. 

The sun is simply energy. 

The amount of energy it takes to produce redness with sunscreen applied to the skin in relation to the amount of energy required to produce redness without sunscreen will determine the SPF.

Now for some science.

UV radiation intensity is measured in units of millijoules per square centimeter (mJ/cm2). This represents energy received per unit area in a given time.

Phew, that was a mouthful.

For example, if 25 mJ/cm2 of energy is needed to redden skin without sunscreen and if 250 mJ/cm2 of energy is needed to redden skin after applying a sunscreen product, the SPF of that sunscreen is equal to 10.

Time in the Sun and SPF

The SPF rating of a sunscreen product does not directly correspond to time spent in the sun.

It is a function of the amount of sun exposure.

An SPF of 10 does not necessarily mean someone wearing a sunscreen product can spend 10x as long in the sun without developing sunburn.

This is a common misconception due to the nature of UVB rays. 

UVB exposure can be influenced by several factors, including:

  • Skin Tone & Age: Golfers with fair skin are more susceptible to sunburn and skin damage from UVB radiation
  • Time of Day: UVB radiation is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Exposure during these peak hours increases the risk of sunburn and skin damage
  • Season: UVB levels vary depending on the season. They tend to be highest during the summer months when the sun's angle is more direct and the days are longer
  • Latitude & Altitude: UVB levels increase as you move closer to the equator and at higher altitudes
  • Weather Conditions: Cloud cover can affect UVB levels. While clouds can block some UV radiation, they do not provide complete protection. Some types of clouds can even enhance UVB levels!

SPF Rating Scale

The SPF rating scale ranges from minimal protection to extremely high levels of protection. 

  • SPF 15: Moderate protection, blocking 93.3% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30: High protection, blocking 96.7% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50: Very high protection, blocking 98% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50+: Very high protection, blocking 98.3% of UVB rays

It is important to note that no sunscreen product or amount of sunscreen will block 100% of UVB radiation.

The Difference Between SPF 30 & SPF 50

A higher SPF rating provides more adequate protection from UVB rays.

SPF 30 blocks 96.7% of UVB radiation while SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB radiation.

The additional 1.3% protection may not seem like much at first glance, but it follows that SPF 50 allows 50% less UVB radiation to penetrate your skin versus SPF 30.

The Best SPF For Golf Athletes

We’ve taken the guesswork out of it.

Confidence is the X factor in golf. 

It’s why we’ve developed our precision skincare to the highest standard.

Feel more confident on the course using PURE, our signature broad spectrum SPF 50 invisible sunscreen.

It works as hard as you, withstanding long hours on the range or links - through rain and sweat - to maintain its overall effectiveness.

The invisible moisturizer is perfect for all skin tones, while an SPF 50 formulation provides an enhanced level of protection, helping to block 50% more UVB radiation than an SPF 30 product.

Choose confidence.

Order yours today.