The Real Difference Between the Numbers

In the past few years, the FDA has taken steps to clear up any confusion about what SPF numbers stand for, and what companies can claim on the label of their sunscreens.  After much research of our own, we've found that a combination of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide contains protection from both UVA and UVB rays, which is what Broad Spectrum protection refers to, and coupled with our other all natural ingredients, we have a product that is good for your skin in a variety of ways..

To put it simply, UVA rays cause early aging and are potentially cancerous, and UVB rays cause sunburn and are potentially cancerous. 

The best way to keep your skin as safe as possible is to look for a sunscreen that says it delivers UVA/UVB protection or Broad Spectrum protection both of which are recognized by the FDA for containing ingredients capable of reflecting or absorbing the damaging rays.

Sunscreens with Zinc and Titanium are know as physical sunscreens because the minerals actually reflect the harmful rays, preventing them from getting through to your skin.  These types of sunscreens will last as long as they are not wiped, sweat, or washed off because they do not lose their effectiveness. 

Chemical sunscreens must be applied to the skin before exposure to the sun because they need to be absorbed into the surface of your skin.  Once absorbed into your skin, they work by absorbing sunrays and then converting the energy to heat.  Depending on where you do your research, it is sometimes thought that chemical sunscreens can negatively effect your endocrine system, and potentially facilitate growth of cancer.  Sounds kinda backwards doesn't it?



All sunscreens are susceptible to wearing off, but Hippo Sweat has been tested for the maximum amount of time required for water/sweat resistance.  The sunscreen is applied to a test area on a willing subject, and then they are submerged in a room temperature whirlpool spa for 80 minutes.  Then the area is tested for UVA and UVB resistance to get their final SPF and Broad Spectrum numbers.

Here is where the numbers game come into play.  SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the SPF is determined by the amount of time you can spend in the sun before you get burned compared to how long it would take you to get sun burned without sunscreen.  For example, if you were using a sunscreen with 15 SPF, you would be able to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you normally could without being burned.  If it normally takes 20 minutes for you to burn without sunscreen, multiply that by 15 and you get 300 minutes before the burn.

Now the interesting part.  Of course we all know that there are many different types of sunscreen, but how different are they really?  Take the chart above into consideration as far as SPF protection, and maybe it will be a little easier for you to choose your next sunscreen based on what you want to put on your skin, and not what the numbers want you to think.


Next time you go shopping for sunscreen, whether its Hippo Sweat or one of the other guys' make sure that you know your numbers so that you can choose the best product for your needs.  The skin is our largest organ, lets keep it safe the best we can.