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When do you use which sun protection factor?

It's no longer a secret how important sun protection is. But sunburn doesn't just increase the risk of skin cancer or promote premature skin aging in adults. Adequate sun protection is also a top priority for babies and children. There is often a lot of uncertainty about which sun protection factor (SPF) is right for children and adults. We are also often asked how long you can stay exposed to the sun and how you should apply sunscreen. That's why we're explaining in this article what you need to consider to protect yourself and your child as best as possible.

Sun protection factor, SPF and co – what is that?

The sun protection factor on sun protection products indicates the Intensity of the protective effect against ultraviolet B rays (UVB rays) and the UVA rays UVB rays are short-wave and are responsible for nasty sunburn. UVA rays, on the other hand, are long-wave and are essentially responsible for skin aging. This means: It shows you how much longer you can stay in the sun with sun protection than without.*

*There are numerous abbreviations that describe the sun protection factor, but they mean the same thing: F: Factor, LPF: Sun Protection Factor, SPF: Sun Protection Factor, SPF: Sun Protecting Factor, IP: Indice Protection.

Which sun protection factor is right for me?

When choosing sunscreen, the choice of sun protection factor is very important. Your Skin type plays a crucial role. The natural protection time of your skin, i.e. the length of time in which the skin can protect itself from the sun without burning, varies depending on the skin type.

Generally valid is the Classification of skin types according to Fitzpatrick (American dermatologist, first described in 1975):

Skin type 1 Skin type 2 Skin type 3 Skin type 4 Skin type 5 Skin type 6
Skin color

paler/ very brighter

bright light brown complexion brown complexion dark complexion very dark complexion
Hair color often reddish often blonde darkblond/
light brown
brown black black
sunburn direct fast rarely rarely rarely very rare
approx. 15 minutes approx. 20 minutes approx. 30 minutes approx. 40 mins. approx. 60 mins approx. 90 minutes
Recommended SPF 30-50 20-50 15-20 10-15 4-8 4-8

The following applies:

Sun protection factor (SPF) x skin type's own protection time (in minutes) = Maximum time in the sun (in minutes)

Using the example of a sun cream with a sun protection factor of 30, this means that the sun cream extends the natural protection of light skin, which is around 15 minutes, by a factor of 30, i.e. 15 min x 30 = 450 min.

However, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection recommends using no more than 60% of the specified protection time. Regularly applying sunscreen, especially after being in the water or sweating, is important to maintain the protection rather than prolonging it. You should also plan enough breaks from the sun to give your skin a rest.

In addition, you should always use a higher SPF (>25) for children. The classifications and recommendations above refer to adults!

When do you use which sun protection factor?

Which sun protection factor is right for my child?

The skin of babies and children is particularly sensitive to strong sunlight because it is usually thinner than the skin of adults. This means that the protective mechanisms against radiation are not yet fully developed and the skin stem cells in children are located much closer to the surface. The self-protection time of babies and children can therefore only be a few minutes. A sufficient sun protection factor of at least 30 is therefore very important. Babies in their first year of life in particular should not be exposed to direct sunlight if possible.

We therefore recommend that you always cover your skin with sufficient UV clothing, hats and parasols. ⇢ Click here for further tips and recommendations on sun protection for babies and children 

What should I look for when choosing my sunscreen?

For the sensitive skin of babies and children, but also of adults, we recommend the use of mineral sunscreens . These protect against both UVA and UVB radiation, form a barrier on the skin and reflect the sun's rays. This means they provide immediate protection and do not require any exposure time. Your sunscreen should ideally comply with the Hawaii Reef Law, which prohibits chemical filters such as oxybenzone, octocrylene and octinoxate, as these can cause damage to coral reefs. For particularly sensitive skin types, as well as for babies and children, we recommend a  Sunscreen without perfume .

And now have fun in the sun and don't forget to put on sunscreen! :)

Our favourite

Our mineral sun care

🌿 Vegan, natural & certified

☀️ Pure mineral zinc oxide UV filter

🕑 Protects immediately without any exposure time

🪸 Compliant with the Hawaii Reef Act (without the chemical UV filters oxybenzone, octocrylene & ocitonoxate)

🧴 Scented or unscented for sensitive skin

For sun care
Mineralische Sonnencreme von das boep


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