The Science Of SPF


Have you ever wondered what “SPF” means on that sunscreen bottle?  What does the number next to “SPF” mean? Does it really matter? And what is the difference between the spray version of sunscreen and the solid version?  Shouldn’t I just buy the least expensive sunscreen since it can get so darn pricey? All those answers and more will be covered by Austin’s pool cleaning pros in today’s Pristine Pools blog.

Heating Up

The Austin sun is coming out!  That means you need to start stocking up on sunscreen for you and your family.  If you are reading this article, then that likely means you are the type of person that thinks ahead.  Props to you!

So you’re in your local convenient store at the sunscreen section. Look at all the options! Need a quick recommendation?  Consider purchasing a bottle that is lotion-based and has an SPF of at least 30. Read on to see why!


S.P.F. is an acronym for Sun Protection Factor.  Easy enough to remember, right?  S.P.F. isn’t as simple as how well a company can speculate on the power of their sunscreen product. It is an actual scientific number that requires testing!  Via Wikipedia:

“The sun protection factor of a sunscreen is a laboratory measure of the effectiveness of sunscreen — the higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen offers against UV-B (the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn..”

We suggest the minimum number you use be 15 for casual outings. If you are planning on hitting the beach, then use no less than SPF 30 all over your body.

Protip: SPF numbers are tiered in an unusual way. To elaborate: SPF 30 is stronger than SPF 15, but it is not twice as strong. That is a common misperception.  Though a higher number obviously means stronger sun protection, just don’t take it as simply added additional numbers to SPF with all power retained.

Spray or solid?

Does it matter which form sunscreen comes in? It appears so. We recommend using regular lotion as opposed to going with other substances such as spray or powdered sunscreen.  Though those types can potentially be safe, there is less controversy about whether or not you should use regular lotion. As convenient as it is, consider avoiding the spray!  Read more here and do a bit of research on your own if interested in further content.

Be Safe

Always do your research and always protect yourself from the sun when you head outside (pool activities or otherwise!)  Here is a resourceful SPF article on galtime that may be of interest to you and could help you better plan that pool party for the summer.

Dive In

Now that we have covered the science behind SPF, you are ready to take the family to the pool! Or, even better, you are ready to take the family to your very own pool!  Be sure to use a local Austin pool company for all your pool needs.  Contact Pristine Pools at 512.773.0668.  You will be glad you did!