Regardless of skin type it's important to protect your skin from the sun. Find out about the different types of UV rays, what SPF means and which SPF you need for your skin type. Discover the best SPF for you today.

The science behind sun protection

Do you know your UVA from your UVB rays? Our guide to sun protection and SPF will teach you how to care for your skin and feel confident in the sun.

What is SPF?

SPF (or sun protection factor) means how much longer you can stay in the sun without experiencing sun overexposure on your skin. By multiplying the SPF number by your personal self-protection time (the number of minutes you can be out before burning) you can work out how long it is safe for you to be in the sun and figure out the right SPF . e.g. if you can stay for 10 minutes in the sun without getting sunburned, a product with SPF 10 would multiply this “self-protection time” by 10 = 100 minutes).

Sun protection is also dependent on your own skin type. And above all, the sun protection is only given in full, if enough product is applied. Recommended are 2 mg/cm2 for one application, which means, for example, about 1 finger length of sun cream for the face or 2-3 tablespoons of product for an average adult’s body.

What are UV rays?

UV stands for ultraviolet radiation. They're found naturally in sunlight and are split into two catagories - UVA and UVB.

What are UV rays you ask? UV rays are responsible for making our skin tan and burn when we spend time in the sun. Our skin turns a darker shade to protect itself from the rays penetrating deeper into the skin.

NIVEA Sun products work by protecting your skin immediately from UVA and UVB rays after you apply it. This is why choosing the right SPF for your needs is important.

UVA, what does it mean?

UVA is the form of UV radiation responsible for sun-induced allergies and long term skin damages like premature skin aging and even immune system suppression. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays have a lower light energy but penetrate deep into the dermis - the skin's deepest and thickest layer.

Uncovering UVB rays

Shortwave ultraviolet B rays burn the top layer of your skin causing sunburn and playing a big part in the development of skin cancer. UVB causes painful sunburn and can directly damage the DNA in our skin cells. Over-exposure to both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer. This is why it is so important to choose a sun lotion that creates a barrier on the skin against UVA and UVB rays to give your skin the best sun protection you can.

What SPF Sunscreen do you need?

Now that you know how sunscreen works, it’s time to find out how to stay safe in the sun and discover the difference SPF factors make to give your skin the best sun protection.

Which sunscreen factor should I use?

The time of day and how long you're exposed for are big determinants to which SPF factor your sunscreen should have. No matter where you are, at the beach, in the city, at the park, if you'll be spending a large amount of the day outside it's important to sunscreen up with a high SPF cream. You should use a high SPF sunscreen like NIVEA Sun Protect & Sensitive SPF 50  as this will give you the best sun protection for a longer period of time.

How long can different skin types stay in the sun?

Light skin

If you have skin type 1 or 2 – pale skin, blond or red hair - your skin is likely to be sensitive to the sun. A high factor sunscreen is the best SPF for your skin type, and by applying  NIVEA Sun Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sun Spray SPF 50 and covering up, you can stay out in the sun 50 times as long as without sunscreen. It's biodegradable too!

How long can different skin types stay in the sun?

Olive skin

For women with olive skin and darker hair, the skin is likely to be more resilient to skin damage. While you still need to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays with a sun lotion such as NIVEA Protect & Dry Touch Sunscreen Spray SPF 30, you are more likely to tan than to burn.

How long can different skin types stay in the sun?

Darker skin

While you are the least likely to burn in comparison to other skin types, exposure to the sun can still cause sun damage. Applying an SPF sun lotion will help to both protect your skin from damage caused by sun exposure and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Try our biodegradable NIVEA Protect & Moisture Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 which will give you the best sun protection for your skin.

How long can different skin types stay in the sun?

Brown-eyed girl

You may have pale skin but do not fit into the Caucasion category. You sometimes tan but usually burn and have dark hair and green or brown eyes. A high factor sunscreen is the best SPF for your skin and is essential, but it is also a good idea to seek shade especially between 11am – 3pm to give your skin the best sun protection throughout the day. Try the NIVEA Sensitive Immediate Protect Sunscreen Spray SPF 30