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Is SPF 15 Enough for Your Face?

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Brown-haired, light-skinned woman with brown eyes smiles in the sun with a bit of sunscreen on her right cheek.

Navigating the seas of skincare can feel like sailing through a never-ending storm of advice, suggestions, and well-meaning tips. 

You’ve probably heard numerous times that sun protection is non-negotiable, and chances are, sun protection factor (SPF) is a crucial step in your daily routine. But as you reach for that SPF 15 moisturizer, is it truly enough to keep your complexion safely shielded from the sun’s unforgiving rays? The short answer is no, SPF-15 is not sufficient to protect your face from UV rays. 

Iconic Beauty Aesthetics breaks down the myths and uncovers the truths about SPF so you don’t have to. 

The Truth Behind SPF for Your Face

The Nature of SPF: More than Just a Number

Any conversation about SPF starts with understanding its fundamental role. SPF refers to the amount of time it takes to burn skin without any protection vs. with sunscreen. When we talk about SPF, we are talking about the ratio of UV rays to skin protection. It’s not just about the time you spend in direct sunlight; it’s about the intensity of the sun’s rays and the vulnerability of your skin.

Science shows:

  • SPF 15 blocks approximately 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks approximately 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 blocks approximately 98% of UVB rays

The increase in percentage may seem minimal, but this isn’t about comparing 2% to 3%—it’s about the additional safeguards for your skin. 

It also doesn’t mean you can wear a higher SPF and be out in the sun for longer. Even in Canada, with our cloudy skies and snowy winters, adequate daily SPF coverage is essential. Apply and reapply frequently if you are outside for long periods of time—we recommend every 2 hours

The SPF 15 Debate: Good, But Not Perfect

SPF 15 is often found as an add-on to your favourite skincare products, hence its inclusion in your moisturizer or BB cream. While applying SPF 15 has its merits, like protecting against immediate damage in the short term, it is not a good long-term investment in the future of your skin. 

Skin health is about dedicated care, and opting for a daily SPF-30 or higher, as recommended by Canadian dermatologists, is a step towards protecting your skin as you age. 

Considering Daily Intentions

If you’re indoors most of the day and your sun exposure is minimal, the recommended SPF 30 could be sufficient. But what about the days when you’re commuting in your car with the sunroof open, or you have a sun-drenched desk by the window? The extra insurance that comes with a higher SPF (like 50, 65, or more) can protect you more. Consider investing in different sunscreens for different activity levels. 

Oh, and opt for broad-spectrum sunscreen, to protect yourself against both forms of UV rays: UVA and UVB. 

Integrating SPF into Your Skincare & Makeup Routine

Your morning skincare routine is your skin’s first line of defence against the day’s aggressors. Incorporating SPF into your routine is a great way to dedicate some extra time to yourself and your skin. 

Daily SPF use reduces your chances of skin cancer and dark spots and helps you age gracefully. 

It’s crucial to layer your products strategically

Our rule? 👉 Apply from thinnest to thickest consistency. SPF should typically be the last step in your regime before makeup. 

Another tip? 👉 Don’t use retinol in the daytime, because it makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays.

Swatches of different cosmetic creams and gels on a beige surface.

Does a Higher SPF Clog Pores?

We get asked a lot about whether or not higher SPFs clog pores, especially for those with acne-prone skin. In reality, it’s the formulation that matters more than the number. Opt for oil-free, non-comedogenic SPF, and cleanse well in the evenings to maintain clear, healthy skin. 

SPF: Your Beauty Bestie

In the beauty world, as in life, choices matter. When it comes to your skin, the freedom to choose the level of protection you feel comfortable with is empowering. 

SPF 15 is a valiant start, but as we seek to understand the nuances of sun protection, we see that our skin deserves more TLC. 

Choose broad-spectrum, non-comedogenic, and oil-free sunscreens that are at least SPF 30 or higher. Having a go-to sunscreen for different activities—a daily SPF before makeup, a sporty, water-resistant sunscreen for those hiking/biking/outdoorsy days of summer—will do wonders for your skin and your overall well-being. 

Choosing the Right SPF Is a Question of Priorities

The SPF debate is partly about numbers and your priorities. Your routine should reflect your lifestyle and skincare goals. It’s time to make SPF a personal statement, one that says you’re taking charge of your skin’s destiny, one sun-kissed day at a time.

When it comes to your facial SPF, don’t settle for good enough. Choose the level of protection that speaks to your needs. 

Iconic Beauty Aesthetics is here for you. Talk to one of our expert team members about SPF protection to get recommendations on sunscreens we love. We’re ready for you.

Written by Sarah Noble

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