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What is SPF 30?

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) on your sunscreen represents a measurement of solar exposure. The higher the number, the greater the level of protection. Contrary to popular belief, SPF is not directly related to the amount of time you can spend in the sun without burning. The number reflects a comparison of how much solar energy your skin can withstand while protected. The intensity of the solar energy you're exposed to can vary by time of day, geographic location and cloud cover. While using an SPF 30 sunscreen helps reduce your risk of burning, you'll need to reapply frequently throughout the day.

Is SPF 30 Enough Protection?

Protecting your skin from UV damage helps reduce your risk of skin cancer, premature skin aging and hyperpigmentation (age spots and freckles). The World Health Organization (WHO), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends daily use for all adults and children 6 months and older. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a product with SPF 30 or higher, especially when outdoors. Studies show that SPF 30 sunscreens block 97% of the sun's damaging UV rays. In addition to daily sunscreen use, many skin experts also recommend the following precautions:
  • Protecting your scalp: A wide-brimmed hat provides an additional layer of protection
  • Wearing sunglasses: lenses that block UVA and UVB rays provide the most benefit
  • Staying in the shade: Lounging under a tree or umbrella further reduces your risk of skin damage
  • Checking expiration dates: Sunscreens have a shelf-life of about 3 years, less when exposed to high temperatures

How Long Does SPF 30 Last?

The active ingredients in your sunscreen work by absorbing or reflecting the sun's UV rays. Although an SPF 30 sunscreen will reduce the impact of UV exposure, it's important to note that protection levels drop quickly. The SPF on your sunscreen tells you how much protection you'll have for approximately two hours. To ensure you're fully protected, be sure to apply your sunscreen 15-30 minutes before heading outdoors and reapply often. CVS Pharmacy offers an impressive assortment of SPF 30 lotions, balms, gels, and sprays, so it's easy to find the best sun protection products for yourself and your family.

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