What is SPF

SPF - the first thing you look for in a sunscreen, what everybody keeps telling you is of utmost importance, the number value of which is given so much focus, but what is SPF? The answer is - Sun Protection factor in a sunscreen, measures the ability of that sunscreen to protect against the sun’s harmful UVB rays that cause sunburns. The higher the SPF value, the more protection there is from sunburns. 

How does SPF work?

Think of it as a protective gear without which, if you go out in the sun, you’ll burn within a few minutes, maybe an hour or more, depending upon the intensity of the sun’s rays at the particular time of the specific day, and of course the particular season and place you are at. With this protective gear, you can go out in the sun without getting sunburned. So a win-win, right? Wrong! This protective gear doesn’t work like that. Instead, it delays the time it’ll normally take for you to get sunburnt if you go out in the sun without any protection.

For example, if it takes 20 minutes for you to get sunburned, an SPF 30 sunscreen will delay this time, and you will get a sunburn after 600 minutes or 10 hrs (multiplying the time 20 minutes by the SPF number 30) and not 20 minutes. So, are you protected for the whole day now? Wrong again! While it does work by delaying the time, it is not really related to the time you are exposed to the sun but to the amount of the sun’s harmful UV rays you're exposed to. 

This multiplying factor isn't the actual time duration you will stay protected from the harmful UV rays because the exact time duration depends on a number of factors such as your skin type, weather conditions, season, place and intensity of sun rays. This multiplying factor of SPF works perfectly when tested under a controlled environment in a lab setting. Unlike these lab settings, real-life environment settings are quite different and have entirely different effects on the skin, and hence, they affect the multiplying factor’s working.

So you cannot wear a high SPF sunscreen and be under the misconception that you are protected completely; you need to reapply the sunscreen to ensure maximum protection, as it cannot be precisely predicted how much time the SPF’s protecting feature will last, reapplying every 2 to 3 hours and using sunscreen with a high SPF of 50 or above is standard to ensure maximum protection from sun damage.

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What to keep in mind?

While using a high SPF sunscreen and regularly reapplying ensures maximum protection from harmful UV rays, it cannot fully protect you from sun damage. So if you go out and stay in the sun for long durations, and you have a high SPF sunscreen but no other protective layer, you will end up getting more harm than protection. The false sense of security that you have a high SPF sunscreen will protect you completely from sun damage and will, in fact, end up damaging your skin even more. So it is important to wear a high SPF sunscreen, reapply it consistently, avoid sun exposure as much as possible and wear protective clothing if possible.

Is SPF enough?

While SPF is the first thing to look for in a sunscreen as it blocks the harmful UVB rays from reaching our skin, another important factor is the PA index (Protection Grade of UVA), as it blocks the harmful UVA rays. SPF of 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 blocks 98% of the UVB rays, PA+ blocks 40 - 50%, PA++ blocks 60 - 70%, PA+++ blocks up to 90% and PA++++ blocks up to 95% of UVA rays. So, besides SPF, it is also important to check the PA factor when choosing sunscreen for you.

Another important factor to look for is the ingredients in sunscreen. While the major work of sunscreen is to protect from UV rays, sunscreens have evolved to cater to more concerns. They have evolved to include hydrating ingredients of a moisturizer to double up as a two-in-one product; some even have Vitamin C, which, in itself is a gem of an ingredient in the skincare world. It has multiple benefits and treats various skin concerns. It has brightening properties and also additional protection from sun damage, so skincare giants decided to combine the powers of Vitamin C with SPF and deliver a sunscreen that has it all.

In this evolution of sunscreen, another concern was white cast, which comes like a side dish with high SPF sunscreens. So, zero white caste sunscreens came into the picture. With these evolutions, you have a variety of sunscreens to choose from that are tailored to your needs. Here are some points that can help ease your decision:

  • Texture: Sunscreen is your everyday friend, but what’s missing for it to be your best of friends is the comfort it provides to you. If it feels heavy or sticky on your skin, then it gets annoying to deal with it every day and every two to three hours. So, it is important to find one that has a lightweight texture, is non-sticky and comfortable to use every day and reapply every two to three hours. 
  • Ingredients: Hydrating and calming ingredients in sunscreen help a lot. You don’t want the product you use most frequently to dry on your skin even if you have oily skin because hydration is what every skin needs, whether dry or oily. Look for ingredients such as Ceramides and Hyaluronic acid that help with hydration needs and strengthen the skin barrier. Opt for brightening ingredients such as Vitamin C to get the most out of your sunscreen, as it also provides an additional layer of protection from sun damage.

why our vitamin c sunscreen is unique

Many sunscreens in the market feature Vitamin C in their ingredient list, but despite their many benefits, they can be irritating to sensitive skin. Light Up Beauty is the first Indian brand to come up with THD Ascorbate, or the Gold Standard of Vitamin C, which is a very gentle and stable variant of Vitamin C. It is 50x more effective than any ordinary Vitamin C while being much more calming on the skin. Light Up Beauty’s Gold Rush Vitamin C sunscreen features this premium variant of Vitamin C. It has an ultra-lightweight texture, which is non-sticky and leaves no white cast, absorbing in just 3 seconds. It also has a 1% Ceramide Complex that helps with barrier repair and strengthening. It checks all the boxes for an ideal sunscreen.

Also Read: Water Based Sunscreen: Summer Essential 101


SPF, or the Sun Protection Factor, is the measure of a sunscreen’s ability to protect from the sun’s harmful UV rays. It works by delaying the time it would take for you to normally get sunburnt when you go out in the sun without any protection. The number value of SPF works as a multiplier factor delaying the time you get sunburnt, but it doesn’t exactly relate to the time of sun exposure but to the intensity of sun exposure. At different time intervals, places, and weather conditions, the time you get sunburns varies, and so does the working of SPF.

Apart from SPF, the PA index is very important to look for as it blocks UVA rays. A high SPF and a PA++++ rating are ideal in sunscreen. As sunscreen is an everyday essential, other factors, such as the texture and ingredients of the sunscreen, should also be considered. Light Up Beauty’s Gold Rush sunscreen has an SPF of 60 and PA++++ UV protection. It features the Gold Standard of Vitamin C - a first of its kind in the Indian market. It is a gentle and more effective variant of the usual Vitamin C. It also has a 1% Ceramide Complex that hydrates and strengthens the skin barrier, making it an ideal sunscreen that checks all the boxes.