An important part of that your skin stays beautiful and healthy is to follow effective suncare protection measures. For this, the first thing you need is an effective sunscreen with the right SPF number. But for this, first, you need to understand what is SPF. ‘Sun Protection Factor’ or SPF is used to measure the level of protection your sunscreen offers from the skin-damaging UVB rays. Higher the SPF number, greater the protection. But how would you know, which SPF number is most suitable for your skin? The level of protection your skin requires usually depends on several factors including complexion, skin type, history of skin conditions and the amount of time spent outdoors.

Here is what you need to know to understand the importance of SPF in sunscreen. 

Effects Of UV Rays On The Skin

UVA and UVB are the two basic types of ultraviolet rays that reach the earth’s surface. 

UVA light or ‘long-wave light’ make around 95% of the ultraviolet light that reaches our skin. These are more harmful than UVB rays since they are capable of penetrating the skin deeply, are associated with signs of ageing, and increase the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays. These are also considered to be a cause of/ contributor to skin cancer. Unlike UVB rays, you do not feel the skin-damaging effects of UVA rays as these may not be apparent immediately. 

UVB is not really ‘skin-penetrating. ‘ Also, these aren’t as ever-present as UVA rays. Nevertheless, overexposure to UVB light is harmful to the skin. UVB radiation can cause sunburn, damage the skin surface (discolouration) and also contribute to skin cancer. 

Understanding How SPF Works

You must have noticed that sunscreens come with various SPF numbers like SPF 15, 20, 25, 40, 50 etc. But what do these numbers actually mean?

Let’s say that it will take your skin about 10 minutes to get burned on exposure to sun rays. Now, a sunscreen lotion with SPF 15 will let you stay outdoors without letting your skin burn for about 150 minutes. It’s called SPF 15 since the factor is 15 times longer.

Choosing The Right SPF In Sunscreen

Experts recommend using sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or above and offers “broad-spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection.”

Factors That Determine Which SPF Level Works Best For Your Skin:

  • Complexion: Fair skin tends to burn easily on being exposed to the skin. People with fairer skin usually need to use a higher SPF than those with medium or dark skin tones. 
  • Skin type: People with sensitive skin may need a higher SPF
  • People who use photo-sensitising medicines also need to use a higher SPF
  • If you spend a lot of time outdoors, go with a sunscreen with higher SPF (SPF 30 sunscreen and above) for better protection. 

Best Sunscreens In Different SPF Categories

SPF 15

SPF 15 sunscreen can block 93% of UVB rays. 

Best Sunscreens With SPF 15

1. The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Lotion SPF 15 Pa++

This SPF 15 PA++ sunscreen lotion with a gel-based lotion, which works well for combination to oily skin. Packed with the goodness of mineral-rich seaweed from the cold coast of Ireland, The Body Shop Oil Control Lotion is lightweight and hydrating. You can also use this lotion as a makeup base! 

2. Himalaya Protective Sunscreen Lotion SPF 15 PA+ 

Shield your skin from the harsh sun rays with this effective and affordable sunscreen by Himalaya. Packed with the goodness of natural ingredients, this lotion also helps prevent issues including fine lines and premature ageing. Regular use of this lotion will nourish and brighten your skin from within. 

3. Neutrogena Oil-Free Facial Moisturiser SPF 15

Your search for the best sunscreen for oily skin ends here! Other than offering effective protection against the harmful UV rays, this moisturiser also makes your skin softer. The lightweight and non-greasy formula will absorb into your skin in no time. 

SPF 20

There is not a lot of difference between the amount of protection offered by SPF 15 sunscreen and SPF 20 sunscreen. 

Best Sunscreens With SPF 20

1. Aroma Magic Aloe Vera Sunscreen Gel SPF 20

This nutrient-rich SPF 20 sunscreen lotion keeps your skin looking great by offering protection against UVA and UVB rays, thus preventing tanning and premature ageing. It has a soothing, non-greasy formula that does not feel heavy on the skin. The best part is, this sunscreen is free of harsh chemicals and parabens! 

2. Kama Ayurveda Natural Sun Protection SPF 21

Packed with the goodness of natural ingredients and UV protection minerals, Kama Ayurveda Natural Sun Protection is just what you need to shield your skin from the harsh summer heat! It will leave your skin smooth and nourished, thanks to its glycerin and olive oil content. It also consists of shea butter, which works wonders for irritated or sun-damaged skin. 

This formula does not leave a white cast and works well for sensitive skin. 

SPF 30 

An SPF 30 sunscreen can block 97% of UVB rays.

Best Sunscreens With SPF 30

1. Lacto Calamine Sun Shield SPF 30 PA++

Lacto Calamine Sun Shield offers SPF 30 PA++ and broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection

The formula is gentle on the skin and contains several powerful ingredients such as Vitamin E and lemon extract. While lemon extract helps in controlling excess oil, Vitamin E aids in reducing dark spots, pigmentation and premature ageing. The formula will also help maintain your skin’s pH levels. 

2. Patanjali Sunscreen SPF 30 With Natural Moisturisers

If you’re looking for a natural option, Patanjali SPF 30 cream with Ayurvedic composition is exactly what you need. Along with sun protection, This paraben-free lotion also offers moisturising benefits.

3. Kaya Daily Moisturising Sunscreen SPF 30

Kaya Daily Moisturising sunscreen lotion SPF 30 shields the skin from UVA and UVB rays. It also helps in keeping the skin hydrated and nourished skin hydration and works well for dry skin. Its non-greasy PABA free formula contains active ingredients that can combat various skin problems including dullness, uneven skin tone, and fine lines. 

4. Aroma Magic Cucumber Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Other than offering sun protection, Aroma Magic Cucumber Sunscreen Lotion also contains the goodness of wholesome ingredients like aloe and cucumber. The formula is free of harsh chemicals and will suit every skin type. 

SPF 40

Sunscreens with SPF 40 offer slightly better protection than those with SPF 30. 

Best Sunscreens With SPF 40

1. Lotus Safe Sun 3-In-1 Matte Look Daily Sunblock SPF 40

This SPF 40 sunscreen by Lotus comes with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection as well as skin lightening ingredients. It will help soothe the skin, refine pores and control oil. The formula has a lightweight and non-greasy texture which does not irritate the skin. 

Lotus Sun Safe Sunblock will give you a radiant look with a matte finish. 

2. Clinique Super City Block Ultra Protection SPF 40

Known for its luxurious product range, Clinique brings you this non-comedogenic sunscreen lotion that will give you a moisturised, bright and radiant skin! It has a lightweight, oil-free and slightly tinted formula that is gentle on the skin.

3. Biotique Bio Carrot SPF 40 Sunscreen

This nutrient-rich SPF 40 sunscreen from Biotique is packed with the goodness of several natural ingredients that help keep your skin soft, radiant and moisturised. Its preservative-free formula nourishes the skin and does make it feel greasy or sticky.

SPF 50

Sunscreen SPF 50 can block 98% of UVB rays

Best Sunscreen SPF 50 Lotions

1. Kaya Youth Protect Sunscreen SPF 50

This PABA-free sunscreen lotion SPF 50 consists of botanical extracts and antioxidants and offers additional benefits like improved skin elasticity and protection against photoaging. It also effectively boosts skin cell oxygenation and regeneration. Its lightweight and non-greasy formula moisturises the skin and gives it a radiant finish. 

2. Suncros 50 Aqualotion SPF 50

Recommended by dermatologists, this product by Suncros is one of the best SPF 50 sunscreen lotions out there. It provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays. Packed with antioxidants, vitamin E and medicinal benefits, Suncros 50 Aqualotion helps prevent premature ageing. It also helps keep the skin moisturised and hydrated. 

This sweat-resistant sun cream SPF 50  works well for someone who spends a lot of time outdoors. 

3. Lotus Safe Sun UV Screen Matte Gel SPF 50

This sunscreen lotion SPF 50 is one of the best options available for people with oily skin to combination skin. Its lightweight gel-based formula controls oil and refreshes the skin. It also consists of various beneficial ingredients like horse chestnut and vanilla extract that are great for the health and appearance of your skin. 

4. L’Oreal Paris UV Perfect Super Aqua Essence SPF 50

L’Oreal Paris UV Perfect Super Aqua Essence has a non-greasy formula that absorbs quickly and your skin a fresh look. This widely popular sunscreen SPF 50 works well for people with oily and acne-prone skin. Its lightweight watery texture will not clog your pores or irritate the skin.  

Now that you know what is SPF as well as what different SPF numbers mean, you can easily choose a suitable sunblock according to your skin type and requirements. Dermatologists usually recommend using a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. However, you need to keep in mind that a higher SPF number does not mean that you will be invincible to the effects of UV rays. You still need to reapply your sunscreen at regular intervals for better protection. In case your skin is impacted by harmful UV rays, you can rely on these home remedies for sun tan removal that are effective enough.

Anam Kidwai
Anam Kidwai

Anam Kidwai has extensive experience in content writing and finds solace in a good book. This freelance writer is appreciative of the freedom to choose and pursue projects she believes in.

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