What Does SPF Mean?

OncoLink
Last Modified: August 13, 2012

Question

A sun block with SPF of 30 will protect me from the sun for 30 minutes: Fact or Myth?

Answer

Rachel Woods, RN, Nurse for the Surgical Dermatology Program at Penn Medicine responds:

SPF increases the time you have in the sun before your skin begins to turn red...about 20 minutes for a fair skin individual. So SPF 30 for that fair skin individual would increase that time by 30. You still need to reapply every 2 hours or sooner.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Sun Safety Webchat transcript.

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