Placeholder Sun protection guide: Take care of your skin in the sun Holland & Barrett
Guía de protección solar

Sun protection guide

1. Sun protection guide

2. What is FPS?

3. Why use FPS?

4. How long does it take for the skin to burn?

5. What does SPF offer your skin?

6. How to choose the FPS number?

7. Summary

Sun protection guide

While most of us don't hesitate to apply sunscreen during vacations or on the sunniest days of summer, having a jar of sunscreen on hand in winter can seem strange.

But is it really necessary to use sun protection all year round? Why should you do it?

According to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, unfortunately very few people know how sun creams work, and they are unintentionally exposed to skin damage.

Luckily, we are here to help. We will explain what sun protection factor is and how it works. We will also explain to you which sun factor is appropriate according to your skin type. That way you'll have a good idea of ​​how to protect your skin during the hot summer months.

In this article you will discover:

What is the sun protection factor
What does the number of said factor mean?
The different types of sunscreens
What effect does it have on the skin.
Which factor should you use
Which is better
If you need sun protection in winter
Sun protection and Vitamin D

What is FPS?

FPS is the acronym for “Sun Protection Factor”. The SPF measures the level of protection against ultraviolet rays of sun creams.

Sunlight produces two types of rays, UVB and UVA.

UVA rays are also harmful. Make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVB and UVA rays. Protection against UVA rays is usually indicated by a star rating system.

Of the two types, UVB rays are the most harmful to the skin, and are the ones that cause burns. They are those that play a fundamental role in the development of skin cancer, including the fatal malignant melanoma.

At the same time, UVA rays can also contribute to the appearance of skin cancer. They penetrate the skin deeper and play a more important role in premature skin aging and the appearance of wrinkles.

In the sun's rays there are 500 times more UVA rays than UVB rays, so it is important that you choose a sun protection product that protects you from both.

The longer you are exposed to sunlight without protection, the greater the risk of getting burned.


Why use FPS?

If you spend a lot of time outdoors – for example if your work is outside – you should use factor 30 or higher, and it should also be waterproof. And don't forget to apply several times during the day.

Whatever the factor of your sunscreen, whether you sweat or not, it is important to reapply, ideally every two hours, to ensure that your skin is properly protected.

What does the number in the FPS mean?

The number you see on your lotion, gel, spray or sunscreen indicates the level of protection they offer.

For example, factor 2 offers the lowest protection against UVB rays, and SPF 50+ offers the highest protection.

This number has no relation to how long you can spend in the sun.

Indicates the difference between how long it would take for the skin to turn red with protection compared to how long it would take without applying protection.

The SPF number is calculated based on a formula – dividing the number of seconds it would take for the skin to start turning red with sunscreen, divided by the number of seconds it would take without using protection.

For example, if it takes 300 seconds to burn the skin with sunscreen, and 10 seconds without sunscreen. 300 is divided by 10, equal to 30, that is, SPF 30.

While we all pay attention to the FPS number, the star rating is also important.

This rating shows the amount of protection against UVA rays, and goes up to 5 stars, which would be the highest level of protection.

UVA rays affect the skin more deeply than UVB, and are a determining factor in the appearance of wrinkles.

Choose a sunscreen that is complete and offers protection for both UVB and UVA rays.


How long does it take for the skin to burn?

Climate, atmospheric conditions and your skin type determine how long it takes to burn. However, for most people, five to thirty minutes are enough for the damage to appear.

Other factors that influence this time can be humidity, sweating, whether you are bathing or the clothes you are wearing.

Different FPS levels

Sun creams offer more or less protection depending on their level, and are classified into four categories according to their protection.

The categories are:

Low protection (SPF 4, 6, 8 and 10)
Medium protection (SPF 15, 20 and 25)
High protection (SPF 30, 40 and 50)
Very high protection (SPF 50) +)

What does SPF offer your skin?

SPF creates a barrier between the skin and the sun's UVA and UVB rays.

Some contain inorganic chemicals, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, that act as a physical barrier. They reflect UV rays, in the same way that white paint reflects light, for example.

Sunscreens also contain organic products such as avobenzone or oxybenzone. Instead of reflecting UV light, these molecules absorb UV radiation through chemical reactions.

By reacting and absorbing UV radiation, sunscreen components break down and release heat.


Factor 2 offers the least protection against UVB rays, while factor 50+ is the most protective.
The number does not indicate how long you can stay in the sun.
Indicates how long it would take the skin to burn with protection compared to without applying protection.

How to choose the FPS number?

Most people should use at least medium or high level sun protection. People with lighter skin and when the sun is very strong (like on the beach, for example) should use protection with a very high SPF.

If you have very fair skin and it turns red after spending just a few minutes in the sun, then you should use a sunscreen with no less than factor 50, and also consider protection for your head (at least a hat!) .

It is highly advisable to use at least factor 50 for children and babies, especially if their skin tone is light.

If you have light skin but your mission is to tan, then start with a high SPF and gradually reduce it.

This way your skin gets used to the effects of the sun in a safer way, since the tanning process is nothing more than your skin's self-protection mechanism.

Different types of sun cream

The types of sunscreen available can be:

Mineral type sun cream (they are composed of natural ingredients and do not harm the coral reef).
In cream or ointment.
In a spray or spray.
Broad spectrum (protects from both UVA and UVB rays).

Which one should I use?

Looking for a sunscreen among the entire range available on the market can be dizzying, especially if you have to take into account the sun factor, the UV category, the type of product, the brand, the opinion of other consumers, etc. .

It is important that you inform yourself before purchasing your sunscreen, since it plays a very important role so that your skin is as protected as possible.

Just as you take into account your skin type (normal, dry, sensitive, oily or a combination of these) when choosing your facial creams, you should choose your sunscreen in the same way.

SPF for oily skin
A moisturizer that contains SPF but does not block the skin pores would be your best option.

Many high SPF sunscreens tend to have a fairly thick consistency, and this makes your skin saturated and sticky.

This is not convenient if your skin is oily, since the pores are usually prone to clogging more easily.

Try to find: Oil-free creams, gels, sprays or lotions that won't leave your skin greasy or congested.

2.SPF for sensitive skin

SPFs that do not contain certain ingredients, particularly benzophenones that can irritate the skin, are ideal for people with sensitive skin.

They are also not recommended if they contain alcohol, as they can affect the skin. If you have extremely sensitive skin, it is best to choose a mineral powder sunscreen. It is applied to the skin and is very gentle on it.

Try to find: Lightweight Very light or powder sunscreens that contain few ingredients (ideally minerals) and no perfumes.

3.SPF for dry skin

Choose light SPFs that act as a moisturizing cream or serum. Thus they act together, hydrating while protecting from the sun.

These types of creams also tend to last the longest on the skin.

Try to find: Serums with SPF that offer added hydration.

4.SPF for mixed or combination skin

Use a light SPF that offers protection without saturating pores while still offering some hydration.

Try to find: gel SPFs that are not very viscous but offer a proper level of hydration.

5.SPF for eyes and lips

Just as there are facial creams and moisturizers with SPF, there are also specific products to protect your eyelids, lips and hands from the sun.

Try to find: Lip balms, eye creams and hand creams with SPF that have been specially formulated to protect as well as care for those areas of the skin that are especially delicate.

6.SPF for dark skin

Even if you have dark skin you should use SPF, as your skin can burn and suffer sun damage, although not as quickly as people with lighter skin.

Choose a product with medium or low protection.

Although the most popular option is chemical products, more and more products of mineral origin are adapted to all skin tones.

Try to find: Factor 30 with good absorption, and if you wish with a dark tone that is similar to your skin tone.

7.SPF for pale skin

If your skin color is very light you need a high SPF protection since your skin will burn much more quickly.

Fortunately, mineral-type sunscreens leave less marks on the skin, making them a very valid option.

Try to find: Sunscreens, whether chemical or mineral, but always have at least SPF 50.

A paragraph:

Don't forget that you can also find base makeup with SPF, although they tend to have a very low protection factor, so you may need to use sunscreen to increase skin protection.


Which FPS is better?

A sunscreen with a four-star UVA rating and SPF 15 is recommended for most people, however this may change depending on skin type.

To increase hydration, people with dry skin should opt for protectors in the form of cream or gel.

If your skin is oily, oil-free protectors will protect you without damaging the pores.

Mineral products free of oils and fragrances and hypoallergenic are ideal for people with sensitive skin, as they contain fewer chemicals.

How to use FPS?

Choosing the right sunscreen is one thing, but using it properly is just as important.

1.What quantity to use

If you are going to have a large part of your body exposed to the sun you will need an adequate amount of product to protect the entire body – for example the size of a tablespoon for each arm, leg, torso and back.

For the face and neck you will need at least the equivalent of half a tablespoon. Make sure to apply it evenly so that there are no unprotected areas.

2.When to apply it

If you are going to use other products such as lotions or moisturizers, make sure that the sunscreen is the last one you apply to the skin. If it is a mineral type you can go into the sun directly after applying it, but if it is a chemical one you have to wait about 15 or 30 minutes for the skin to absorb it correctly.

And it is very important to reapply every two hours or after taking a bath.

3.What ingredients can you combine it with

It is not advisable to create your own sunscreen by combining other products, as it can reduce the protective effectiveness.

It is very important to always use SPF if you use retinol, skin products with Vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide or AHA/BHA acids.

Do I need to use sunscreen in winter?

Even if it's cold outside and summer has passed, you are still at risk of getting burned, even on cloudy days.

In winter, the sun's rays reflected from snow, sand or water intensify exposure to UV rays.

Unless you spend a lot of time in the winter sun, a moisturizer with SPF is enough to protect you from UV rays in short periods of exposure.

Sun creams are best suited for long exposures, such as spending an hour or more in the sun.

Can using sunscreen all year round cause vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D is produced by our body when sunlight hits the skin.

However, it is important to protect the skin from the damaging effects that the sun may have.

A diet rich in oily fish, eggs, or even taking supplements can ensure healthy levels of vitamin D.


Even on cloudy days you can burn yourself
SPF should not be used only in summer
Protecting yourself from the sun is very important, as is ensuring good absorption of vitamin D
What ingredients intensify the effectiveness of SPF ?

There are some ingredients in skin care products that can help increase SPF protection. These include vitamins C and E and ferulic acid, which have been shown to offer protection against sun damage through infrared radiation.

A few last words about the FPS.

Just as you couldn't do without your favorite lipstick or mascara, the same should apply to your SPF – it is key to the health of your skin and should never be ignored.

And best of all, there are many types of sun protection available.

Not only are they for each specific skin type, but they are also available in different formats so you can choose the one that best suits you, for example gels, minerals, serums, makeup, moisturizers, etc.

Always add SPF to your daily skin care, and make it a routine.

Our sun protection products

The advice offered in this article is for informational purposes only, and should never replace medical care. Consult your doctor before using any supplement, treatment or remedy. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a balanced and varied diet and a healthy lifestyle.


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