What Most People Get Wrong About Sunscreen SPF Protection

With warmer weather on the horizon (yay!) you’re probably beginning to pay more attention to the sunscreen in your daily routine. Look for the highest SPF rating and you’re sorted, right?

Not so fast.

SPF is only part of the sunscreen story. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about sunscreen protection so your skin REALLY gets what it needs. 

What does sunscreen protect your skin from?

Ok, we can hear you saying…’uh, the sun...duh!’ but let’s get into the science of suncreen a little.

Primarily, sunscreen blocks your skin from ultraviolet radiation ( UV rays) which are contained in the entire spectrum of electromagnetic radiation produced by the sun which reaches the earth and...our skin.

Told you we were getting our #science on.

There are two types of UV rays - UVA and UVB. We talked about the difference between the two here but in a nutshell, UVB cause redness and sunburn to the surface of the skin while UVA causes skin cancer and wrinkles as it damages the structure of the skin. 

Basically, UVA rays penetrate more deeply into the skin than UVB. 

Here’s the thing though, when you see an SPF rating on sunscreen it only measures the protection against UVB rays, not UVA. 

What does SPF actually mean?

It stands for sun protection factor and the number beside it indicates how well the sunscreen protects skin against sunburn. 

According to the Australian Academy Of Science the SPF rating -

 “Is not an indicator of how long you can stay out in the sun, rather, it indicates how much longer it takes untanned skin to start to redden with sunscreen applied compared to how long it takes to start reddening without it.”

And as we mentioned above, the SPF rating only tells you how well the sunscreen protects skin against UVB radiation, not the deeper-penetrating UVA.

A higher SPF rating doesn’t dramatically increase your sun protection

The truth is, the difference between SPF 15 protection against UVB and SPF50 protection is only 5%. The breakdown is as follows -

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

The Skin Cancer Foundation Australia recommends SPF 15 as ideal for everyday use, and occasional exposure, like walking your dog or driving to work.

If you’re hitting the beach or spending an extended period in the sun, SPF30+ is recommended. 

Why you need to choose broad spectrum sunscreen

The SPF rating shouldn’t be the only priority when choosing sunscreen though.

You could be slathering on SPF 50 sunscreen every hour of the day but unless it is“broad spectrum” it won’t protect you from the age-accelerating, cancer-causing damage of UVA rays.

Broad spectrum sunscreen is the answer - it provides defence against UVA and UVB rays 

Zinc oxide - nature’s best broad spectrum sunscreen 

Zinc oxide is a fantastic natural, broad spectrum sunscreen. 

It’s a mineral that sits on top of the skin, scattering, reflecting, and absorbing UVA & UVB rays. It’s the safest and most effective active sunscreen ingredient. 

Zinc oxide can be ‘micronized’. This means it can be processed into tiny particles, so small that the zinc appears clear when applied to the skin.

Because it sits on top of the skin, it’s considered safer than chemical sunscreens that are actually absorbed into the skin. 

More good news about zinc oxide - it suits all skin types. 

It rarely causes irritation on the skin which makes it great for sensitive skin and it has non-comedogenic properties. Basically, that means it's oil-free and won't clog your pores - a relief for oily skin types!

It’s pretty clear zinc oxide is a winner when it comes to natural sun protection. This is exactly why we use zinc oxide in our SPF15 Face Moisturiser. It’s non greasy, quickly absorbing and perfect on its own or under make up. 

In addition to zinc oxide it also contains organic coconut oil for its exceptional moisturising and protective properties. 100% natural, our SPF15 Face Moisturiser provides broad spectrum UVB & UVA protection. 

It gets rave reviews too!


“The best natural moisturiser suncream on the market!!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

After wanting something "healthy", natural and good for my skin I did some research and came across Kelapa. At first I thought it was expensive but purchased anyway. And have since purchased many more - that's how good it is. You get what you pay for! It isn't oily, absorbs quickly and leaves my face feeling soft and moisturized. It also doesn't have that unpleasant smell that many other creams on the market do. I love It! Highly recommend!!!!” - Nicole


Try our SPF15 Face Moisturiser for yourself and let us know what you think!

Kelapa Organics is excited to bring you a range of certified organic skincare products. Free from harmful toxins, our Australian made organic skin care products are also cruelty-free.

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