Reading the label is essential in choosing a sunscreen suitable for daily use or an outdoors lifestyle. However, don't fall for a high SPF number that encourages an extended stay in the sun while increasing the risk of premature skin ageing and cancer.
To protect consumers from excessive UV exposure, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, EU and Australia have limited the maximum SPF Value on sunscreen labelling to 50+.
The EU system also allows a sunscreen with SPF 50+ to be claimed as having "very high protection". SPF (Sun Protection Factor) refers to the protection against skin-burning, primarily caused by UVB rays. As important is the level of protection against UVA, which causes skin ageing due to a deeper penetration that damages the skin's structure.
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