SPF 30 vs 50: What's the Difference?

Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50? You’re not alone! Whether you’re planning a beach day with the kids or hiking in the great outdoors, you need to know the difference between SPF 50 and 30.
Orange sunscreen bottle

Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50? Have you also wondered if it's worth paying more for the SPF 50 sunscreen? Whether you’re planning a beach day with the kids or hiking in the great outdoors, you need to know the difference between SPF 50 and 30. That way, you can choose the best sunscreen for you and your family. Keep reading to compare SPF 30 vs 50 and learn when to use SPF 50 for the best sun protection.

What Does SPF Stand For?

Before we answer the question, “What’s the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50?” you need to know what SPF means. SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” It is a measure of how effective sunscreen will be in protecting your skin from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause sunburn.

A common misconception is that SPF has to do with how much time you spend in the sun. For instance, many people think that an SPF 15 sunscreen will allow them to spend up to 15 hours in the sun (or 15 times longer) without getting burned if they typically burn in one hour. Unfortunately, that isn't the case, as SPF is directly connected to solar exposure quantity rather than time.

What’s the Difference Between SPF Ratings?

Some sunscreen products boast a high SPF rating while others have a more modest number. In general, the higher the SPF, the more protection you will get. However, it is important to remember that no sunscreen can provide 100% protection from the sun. Even products with an SPF of 100 will allow some UV rays to reach your skin. That’s why it’s essential to wear sun-protective clothing and put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF rating, even on cloudy days.

What’s the Difference Between SPF 30 and SPF 50 and Other Sun Protection Levels?

Here's the difference between SPF levels:

  • SPF 15 and below provides low protection
  • SPF 16 - 29 provides medium protection
  • SPF 30 - 49 provides high protection
  • SPF 50+ provides very high protection

SPF 50 provides approximately 98% protection from UV rays, while SPF 30 provides approximately 97% protection. So, while both are excellent choices, SPF 50 offers slightly better protection.

Does SPF 50 Protect You Entirely from the Sun?

Whether you’re headed to the pool, on a hike, or to the grocery store, don't forget sunscreen and sun-protective clothing as sunscreen won't be able to protect you from all the sun's UV rays.

Even a few minutes in the sun can cause skin damage, but the right sunscreen can protect against the adverse effects of too much sun. For example, face and lip sunscreen is gentle enough for vulnerable areas but strong enough to keep them from getting sunburnt.

Those who enjoy the outdoors or are required to be outside more are exposed to significantly more UVA and UVB rays than most. That's why it is important to take additional steps to protect yourself from the sun, such as using active sunscreen designed to stay on even when you sweat. Whether you are a golf pro, fishing guide, or construction worker, the sun will find you just the same. Having the appropriate gear can make all the difference, and investing in the right sunscreen and protective clothing is a must. Your skin will thank you for it.

SPF 30 vs 50: Which One to Use?

Wearing any sunscreen is essential to protecting your skin from the sun, but it can be confusing to know which SPF to choose–SPF 30 vs 50. The higher the SPF, the better the protection. We recommend using sunscreen with an SPF 50 rating for the best protection at all times. However, keep in mind that no sunscreen can block all UV rays, so it's still critical to seek shade and wear sun-protective clothing when possible.

Shop UV Skinz for All Your Sun Protection Needs

At UV Skinz, we make it easy to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays with a wide selection of sun protection essentials, including sunscreen from brands like Cotz and MDSolarScience. So, get out there and enjoy the fresh air! Just remember to do it safely by shopping for SPF 50 sunscreen today!