Rio radiance SPF 50 Sun Care Collection - Body spray, body lotion and body oil

Which SPF Do I Need? Everything You Need to Know About Sunscreen

Good news, those “fun in the sun” days are fast approaching, making the need for daily sunscreen use even more important. You might be asking yourself, "what sunscreen should I use?” And while wearing some sunscreen is better than not wearing any, not all sunscreens are created equal. Choosing the right one makes a big difference.

If you’ve been wondering, “what SPF should I use?” start with a formula that has broad-spectrum UV protection and an SPF level of at least 30. This is the best protection level, no matter your skin tone. Ideally, you should apply at least 30 minutes before going outside.

Below is our ultimate SPF guide to help you master sun protection—and feel confident while you're enjoying the great outdoors. 


What is SPF? 

So, what does SPF indicate? Sun protection factor, better known as SPF, indicates how much longer you can stay in the sun without experiencing overexposure. To calculate your safe sun time and decide what SPF sunscreen to apply, start with how long it typically takes your skin to burn without sunscreen. If it’s 10 minutes, a sunscreen with SPF 30 will protect you for up to 30 times longer when used properly. 

Keep in mind that sun protection also depends on your skin tone. And, it only works properly if you apply enough. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), most adults need about an ounce to fully cover their body. 


Should I Apply Sunscreen Before or After Moisturizer? 

It’s an age-old debate, but the order you apply your sunscreen has an impact on your skin's hydration and protection level against the sun. The AAD recommends applying sunscreen after other skin care products like topical medications or prescriptions, or serums and moisturizers.  

For your body, be sure to moisturize well before applying SPF. From our Delicia Drench Body Butter, which penetrates deep below the surface to lock in moisture and relieve extra dry skin, to our visibly firming Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, our collection of Brazilian Body Creams will help moisturize and hydrate your skin. 

By following these skincare routine steps, you can ensure that you’re effectively shielding your skin from the sun’s harmful rays with our new Rio Radiance SPF 50 suncare collection 


What are UV Rays? 

UV stands for ultraviolet radiation. They're found naturally in sunlight and split into two categories: UVA and UVB. UV rays are responsible for making our skin tan and even can burn skin if overexposed. Sol Sun Fact: Our skin turns a darker shade to protect itself, according to Dr. Maral Skelsey, a dermatologist at Georgetown University 

UVA Rays 

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

UVB Rays 

Shortwave ultraviolet B rays cause painful sunburn and can directly damage the DNA in your skin cells, which can lead to skin cancer. Overexposure to both UVA and UVB rays can also cause skin cancer. This is why sunscreen is not optional. Your skin needs that barrier against both UVA and UVB rays as protection. 


Picking the Perfect Sunscreen 

How do you choose which sunscreen is best for your skin? Start with the time of day and how long your skin will be exposed to the sun. This will help determine what factor sun cream you need. Whether you’re spending a day at the beach, exploring the city, or having a picnic in the park, you’ll want to choose sunscreen with a high SPF. Plan on reapplying every two hours, and after swimming or excessive sweating. Wondering what factor sunscreen should I use? Here’s what's recommended by the AAD based on your skin tone.  

Fair-Skinned with Blonde or Red Hair 

If you have fair skin, you may have wondered is SPF 30 enough? This skin type is the most sensitive to the sun, so it requires a higher SPF to reduce the risk of sunburn. We recommend SPF 50, as it gives fair skin optimal protection. Be sure to apply generously and repeatedly throughout the day. Also, try to avoid the sun during peak hours (between 10AM and 4PM). 

Olive-Skinned with Darker Hair 

While still sensitive, this skin type is more resilient to the sun. So, it’s possible to tan over time with a slightly reduced risk of sunburn. The AAD recommends sunblock with a minimum SPF 30 keeping you protected. Apply generously both before and during sun exposure. You can also opt for SPF 50 if you’re not sure which SPF is best for your specific skin. 

Dark-Skinned with Dark Hair 

It’s a myth that darker skin doesn’t burn, though it’s the least likely to do so. That’s why protection from UV radiation is still a must. We recommend SPF 50 for maximum protection, especially if you’re out during peak hours or for long periods of time. Remember to apply generously and repeatedly throughout the day. 

Is SPF 15 enough? 

If you have a darker skin tone or are only heading out for a short amount of time, and avoiding the sun’s peak hours, sun protection with SPF 15 can help reduce your risk of sunburn. Still, we strongly recommend using at least SPF 30 to adequately protect your skin. 

Sun Safety Strategies to Keep in Mind 

If you’re still wondering, what SPF do I need? Don’t worry. No matter the SPF you choose, remember to reapply every two hours while basking in the sunshine. This includes sunscreens with “once a day” or “water-resistant” callout on the bottle.  

Keep in mind that you don’t have to rely solely on sunscreen to protect your skin. SOL Sun Tip: Spend time in the shade when it’s sunniest, typically between 11am and 3pm. You can also resist the rays in style by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sun visor and sunglasses with UV protection. For extra protection, keep a long-sleeved T-shirt handy. Longer days in the sun may even call for Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) clothing.  

And of course, don’t forget your SPF