SPF 30 vs SPF 50 For Your Face

As spring gets underway, the warm sunshine is a welcome sight and whilst it’s blooming lovely, extra skin protection is now needed. So, if you’re looking at a new facial sunscreen this season, how do you know which is best? And does it matter whether you choose SPF30 or SPF50?

SPF face care

Why Do You Need Sunscreen?

It’s easy to think that sunscreen is a skincare product reserved for summer holidays, but this is a common misnomer! SPF is an essential part of any daily skincare ritual. Not only does it protect your skin from painful sunburn, but it also prevents harmful UV damage to the skin cells. 

So, what’s the problem with the sun anyway? After all, doesn’t it give us vitamin D which is essential for healthy bones, muscles, and teeth? 

Yes, sunshine gives us health and psychological benefits but it’s the ultraviolet radiation, a form of electromagnetic energy that is the risk factor and that’s why we need sunscreen.

Why Are UV Rays Dangerous?

The role of energy is to make something happen, or put another way, to cause change. When that happens within skin cells, photodamage occurs meaning the DNA changes which can lead to cell mutations and visible signs of premature ageing including:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles

  • Discolouration

  • Hyperpigmentation

  • Uneven pigmentation

  • Sagginess

  • Leathery skin

  • Dullness

  • Sunspots 

It’s a lengthy list and that’s not to mention an increased likelihood of skin cancer as well. Too many of us forgo sun protection during our twenties and thirties, only to pay for it later in life.

It’s also pertinent to add that if you’re using highly active ingredients like Retinol or AHAs, these can make your skin even more sensitive to the sun and more susceptible to damage. Whenever you use products of this nature, it’s imperative to use an SPF alongside them. We especially love MZ Skin Hydrate & Nourish Age Defence Retinol Day Moisturiser SPF 30 - 50ml because you can apply retinol and SPF in one swift stroke. 

Formulated for those suffering with blemished skin, this multi-purpose daily moisturiser has an encapsulated non-irritant retinol to heal imperfections and refine skin tone as well as rich Kahai Nut Oil for nourishing antioxidant protection and a high level of SPF for sun protection.

What Does Sunscreen Do?

Consistent use of an SPF helps to prevent those noticeable signs of skin ageing and decrease your risk of skin cancers and precancers. 

Sunscreen includes active ingredients to prevent the sun’s radiation from reaching the skin. This can be achieved through physical ingredients like Zinc Oxide that block and scatter the sun’s rays before they penetrate the skin or chemical ingredients like octisalate which absorb UV rays before they have a chance to damage skin.

It’s also helpful to use a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection because this means it will block out UVA and UVB rays, both of which can be damaging to skin.

What Does SPF Mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number indicates how long the sun’s UVB rays will take to redden your skin when the product is applied as per the directions and in comparison, to the amount of time it would take if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. 

So, an SPF of 30 supplies 30 times more protection than just your normal skin would without any sunscreen. But just because it enables you to stay longer in the sunlight without burning, doesn’t mean you should!

SPF 50 gives you the highest level of protection, but when it comes to which factor you should use, that partly depends on your age, lifestyle, location, season and where on the body you’re applying it. For example, during the hotter months where you’re outside more or when you’re in a hot country, consider an SPF50 sunscreen for maximum protection. 

Whereas in the depth of winter or at times when you’re mainly staying indoors, SPF30 will be suitable and can be worn all year round. You may wonder why wear it at all, but UV rays can penetrate thick cloud and windows, so don’t be tempted to skip it. 

The right sun protection factor may also depend on your skin type, so if you have a lot of moles or very pale skin that easily burns, consider the maximum protection provided by SPF50. Some people also prefer SPF50 for use on the areas that age first like face, neck and décolletage while they might apply SPF30 to the rest of the body.

Age is another factor because skin becomes more sensitive, thinner, and fragile as we grow older, so SPF50 might be more suitable. And as mentioned previously, the types of skincare products you use should be a consideration because you might need to up your SPF. 

Obagi® have a great range of broad spectrum SPF50 sunscreens. Prefer to have a matte complexion? Opt for Obagi® Matte Sunshield SPF 50 or if you like a tinted sunshield, choose between Obagi® Tinted Sunshield SPF 50 Cool or Obagi® Tinted Sunshield SPF 50 Warm.

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