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Here comes the sun!

Here comes the sun!

Have you ever wondered what SPF means or if you could use last year’s sunscreen? Read on……..

There is much controversy as to whether the sun is good or bad for you. Life is often about a healthy  balance and  in my June blog I will cover 10 health benefits of moderate sun exposure.

One thing, however, everyone should be aware of is that sunburn is definitely something to be avoided!

Sunscreen FAQs

1. What does SPF mean?      

Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, the kind of radiation that causes sunburn, damages skin, and can contribute to skin cancer.

If your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer).  While that seems easy enough, the formula doesn’t necessarily hold true when you’re dealing with SPF numbers that are higher than 30.  SPF is actually a measure of protection from the amount of UVB exposure and it is not meant to help you determine duration of exposure, as this depends on skin type, intensity of sunlight and the amount of sunscreen used.

The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) scale is as follows:

  • SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays

So, one way of looking at this is that SPF 30 sunscreen only gives you 4% more protection than SPF 15 sunscreen. Sunscreens with really high SPFs, such as SPF 75 or SPF 100, do not offer significantly greater protection than SPF 30 and mislead people into thinking they have more protection than they actually do.

2. How much sunscreen should you use?

For best protection, experts recommend using a minimum SPF sunscreen of 15.  Applying the proper amount is very important and as a rough guide that is 2 tablespoons for full body coverage. Most people under-apply sunscreens, using ¼ to ½ the amount required. Using half the required amount of a factor 30 sunscreen only provides an effective SPF of 5.5!

3. How often should you reapply sunscreen?

There are several factors to take into consideration like your skin type and the time of the day but general consensus is about every 2 hours and after swimming or strenuous exercise. If you have very fair skin you should re-apply more often.

4. What is the difference between UVA and UVB?

UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin’s thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin ageing and wrinkling.

UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer.

When choosing your sunscreen make sure it’s a sunscreen that offers both UVA & UVB protection.

5. Can you use last year’s sunscreen?

Sunscreen has a shelf life of two to three years, as long as it’s not stored at high temperatures or in direct sunlight. Make sure you keep sunscreen in a cool or shaded place at all times. After this time sunscreen should be discarded. Not all sunscreens have a “use by date” so a good idea is to write the date you purchased your sunscreen on the bottle.

Enjoy your time in the sun making sure it gives you a healthy glow, nothing more dramatic!


About the Author

I have been involved in fitness all my life but never been hugely competitive. Entering the world of fitness instructor, personal trainer and nutrition advisor, I leant how simple it is to stay in shape without becoming a gym fanatic or elite athlete. I am neither, by the way!

So after 17 years of managing the swimming school and taking rowing classes at Newton Abbot Leisure Centre, I decided it was time to do something that would give me a different type of job satisfaction. Offering a service that directly influences someone’s wellbeing, seemed a good choice.

So, I studied the mechanics of exercise versus body shape and began to understand why so many people who have exercise routines that sometimes seem excessive, never see the changes they are hoping for. This led me to I set up Tessfit which tackles this conundrum. It is a real mix and match offering between nutrition and weight management advice, fitness classes and personal training. A combination which is proving to be highly successful for everyone involved.

I now work from home and run my classes and indoor Personal Training sessions at Venture Fitness in Newton Abbot. It is a great balance and not only do I love my work, I also get to spend more time with my family which is invaluable.​.

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Tessfit brings a completely fresh approach to fitness, TessFit Logoexercise and nutrition in Newton Abbot.

Based on the belief that the best exercise is the one you enjoy, Tessfit is all about enjoyment.

Tessfit is designed for both men and women of all ages.

- Fitness without the gym
- Nutrition without the confusion
- Pilates classes with the Tessfit twist!
​- Body Logic classes designed and delivered as only Tessfit can


Venture Fitness
Unit 1 Venture Court, Bradley Lane,
Newton Abbot, TQ12 1NB

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