SPF 30 vs SPF 50: What's The Difference?

Being exposed to the sun for even 15 minutes can cause the harmful UV rays of the sun to damage your skin and cause nasty sunburns and possible skin diseases. This is why it is necessary to protect your skin from sun damage from UV rays by using SPF, which means Sun Protection Factor. It is a necessity especially in the summer season because of the harsh sun all day long. However, you must apply SPF even in the winters and other seasons as UV rays can still penetrate your skin. An SPF is a number assigned to your sunscreen or other face and body lotion that denotes the amount of protection it offers against the sun. There are several kinds of SPF like SPF 25, 30, 40, 50 and more. Read on to know about the most common SPFs and the difference between SPF 30 vs SPF 50.

What is SPF 30?

In simple terms, you can understand that the SPF number tells how long the sun’s rays would take to redden your skin while wearing the sunscreen versus if you weren’t wearing any. If you’re wondering what does SPF 30 do, wearing an SPF 30 sunscreen means that it would take 30 times the amount of time to burn your skin than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen at all. [1] This is considered as an older explanation of SPF, however it is accurate to a certain extent.The SPF 30 allows approximately 3 percent of UVB rays to still hit your skin, which means it shields you against 97% of sun rays. SPF 30 sunscreens give you good protection against the sun’s UV rays and also reduce the possibility of getting skin cancer, depigmentation, ageing and other skin damage signs. 

One of the most important aspects of using a lower SPF sunscreen such as SPF 30 is that you are accustomed to reapply it every two hours, which shields you even more against sun damage. This is the drawback with higher SPF sunscreens because as everyone knows they protect against the sun better, people who use higher SPFs tend to stay out in the sun longer, and don’t reapply it as much, which leads to more sun exposure and damage to the skin. Irrespective of the SPF, sunscreens must be reapplied every two to three hours and after swimming or sweating as well. You can use the Revlon Touch & Glow advanced radiance sun care daily moisturizing lotion SPF 30 for the best results while heading out on a sunny day. Remember to reapply it every two to three hours.

What is SPF 50?

It is important to know that no SPF or sunscreen offers 100% protection against the sun’s rays. SPF 50 tries to do a better job by shielding you from 98% of the sun’s burning UVB rays. This means it allows only 2% of the sun’s rays to penetrate your skin. In the same logic as above, we can say that SPF 50 protects your skin from sunburn for 50 times the amount of time than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. However, you must not let this be the deciding factor in applying sunscreen. This does not mean that you can stay outside for 8-10 hours on just a single application of SPF 50. It is always necessary to apply a water resistant SPF and reapply it every two to three hours. 

Any sunscreen with an SPF above 50 may be providing you with a false sense of security that you are completely protected from the sun and need not care about your sun exposure anymore. However, this is far from true because no sunscreen provides complete protection from the sun’s UV rays. Even an SPF 100 provides 99% protection from the sun, and allows 1% rays to hit the skin. This is why you must always choose a broad spectrum SPF sunscreen which provides protection against both kinds of UV rays, UVA and UVB, and try to choose one with a higher SPF as it will provide better protection. You will get the best protection from the Touch & Glow advanced radiance sun care daily moisturizing lotion SPF 50 by Revlon that is non greasy and nourishes the skin thoroughly.

The Difference Between SPF 30 And SPF 50

Now that you know what SPF 30 is and what does SPF 50 do, you can know about the difference between the two. From the above information it is obvious that SPF 50 does a better job of protecting you from the sun’s UV rays than SPF 30. SPF 30 allows almost 3% of UVB rays to penetrate the skin whereas SPF 50 allows 5% of rays to hit your skin. Now this may seem like a small difference but you will realise that SPF 30 is allowing 50% more radiation to penetrate your skin compared to SPF 50.

The SPF level of your sunscreen only determines the level of protection you receive from UVB rays, but not from UVA rays. UVA rays also cause skin damage such as wrinkling, premature ageing and more. Therefore you need to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. This is determined by whether your sunscreen is broad spectrum or not. Dermatologists recommend a broad spectrum sunscreen which protects against both types of UV rays of the sun.

Also read Are you applying sunscreen the right way.


You may have well understood the difference between SPF 30 vs SPF 50, the true meaning of SPF and other factors that help you choose the right sunscreen. So what should be the ideal sunscreen for you to wear on a sunny day out? We are here to help you decide. Firstly, you must go for a broad spectrum sunscreen that provides protection against UVA and UVB rays. You need to ensure it is at least SPF 30 or above, which provides the optimum protection in the sun at least for a few hours. 

Another important feature you should look for in a sunscreen is whether it contains mineral protection. A sunscreen can be made with either chemical actives or mineral actives. Chemical actives work by absorbing the sun’s rays and converting them to heat through a chemical reaction and then releasing it through the surface of your skin. Sunscreen made with mineral actives not only absorbs the sun rays, but also reflects most of them off of the skin. You can try a mineral sunscreen enriched with antioxidants like vitamin E as they provide an additional layer of protection. 


Q. Does SPF 50 work better?

A: Compared to SPF 30, the SPF 50 sunscreen works for a longer time and provides more effective protection against the sun’s UVB rays. If you are considering an outdoors activity or sport, prefer an SPF 50 sunscreen.

Q. Which SPF is best for face?

A: Any sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher is ideal for your face and provides optimum protection. You can choose which SPF you want based on your needs and comfort regarding the product.

Q. How long is SPF 30 Good For?

A: Any sunscreen should be reapplied every three to four hours for maximum protection. SPF 30 also works well for three hours after which it needs to be reapplied.

Q. Can I use SPF 50 everyday?

A: Yes, you can surely use SPF 50 everyday, as long as it is suitable for your skin and does not cause any adverse reactions. You can prefer to use a mineral based sunscreen with SPF 50 with antioxidants that provides better protection everyday.