(KUTV) When you buy sunscreen, you may have noticed it comes with a number on the front. So, what do those numbers mean?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. The higher the number the better, right? It turns out that protecting yourself from the sun means paying attention to a lot more than just the number on the front of the bottle.
Sunscreen can be purchased with sun protection factors, or SPF’s, that range from the single digits all the way to more than 100.
According to a study the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did last year, the SPF number doesn’t mean much unless it protects you from all the different kids of rays from the sun. For example, some sunscreens may block the rays that cause tanning, but not other rays that cause cancer, or aging.
So, the FDA recently passed new rules where sunscreen makers must now list exactly what the bottle will protect its user from, including tanning, aging or cancer. After that, the FDA says the higher the SPF number the better, but anything higher than SPF 50 makes no difference.
If the sunscreen provides total protection, it will be labeled “broad spectrum.”
For more information, go to http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm258416.htm
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)