7 Things To Know About SPF (Hint: A Higher Number Isn’t Always Better)

May 8, 2013

When I say that the sun is our frenemy, I’m kind of joking. But kind of not.

The sun is a life-giver! Without the sun, life on this planet wouldn’t even be possible. On an everyday basis, the sun can brighten our day and provide warmth. But, at the same time, the sun is also sneaking in a lot of long-term damage to our skin.

Our skincare routine should always include some kind of sun protection.

Most people are happy to just slather on some kind of product containing the highest number of SPF that they can find, without a clue as to what that number means.

So, today I’m going to quickly break down the important things you need to know about SPF in sunscreens.

And why a higher number isn’t always necessarily better…


  • 1) SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. This was a number introduced in 1962 to measure a sunscreen’s effect against UVB rays, the type of UV ray chiefly responsible for sun burn and skin cancer.
  • 2) The SPF number stands for how long you can stay in the sun without getting burned. The idea is, if you tend to burn under the sun within 10 minutes of exposure, using an SPF 10 product will multiply the time you can stay out in the sun by 10 without getting burned (in this case, 100 minutes).
  • 3) SPF number indicates protection only against UVB rays. It’s important to look for a “broad-spectrum” label which will protect against both UVB rays and UVA rays, the other type of UV ray that can penetrate deeper into the skin and cause long-term photo damage.
  • 4) Increasing the SPF number does not exponentially increase your level of protection. For example, an SPF of 15 absorbs 93.3 percent of UVB rays, but an SPF of 30 absorbs 96.7 percent. Even though the SPF number has doubled, the UVB absorption rate has increased by only 3.4 percent.
  • 5) Suncreen’s effectiveness decreases when exposed to water or sweat. Even if it is waterproof. All types of sunscreen break down over time, especially after exposure to water. So re-apply every 2 hours to keep your skin safe.
  • 6) No matter how high the SPF, sunscreen can protect only the skin it covers. Your whole body is vulnerable to skin cancer, not just the areas that burn easily or wrinkle faster. Areas that tend to be overlooked are the lips, the backs of your hands and ears, and the tops of your feet.
  • 7) After applying sunscreen, wait 15 to 30 minutes before stepping out into the sun. This gives chemical sunscreens enough time to be fully absorbed into the skin.

Other important things to remember:

To have well-rounded coverage, SPF protection should be combined with protective clothing and sun avoidance during the hottest and brightest parts of the day, usually between 10 am and 4 pm, when UVB rays are strongest.

SPF strength is less important than frequent application!!

And finally, you should be protecting your skin from the sun on a daily basis, no matter what the season! You do know that, right??

I know that summer is the season when people love to get their tan on. And for those people, I’m going to leave you with a very powerful image of what the sun can do to your skin over time.

Maybe you’ve already seen this? But if not, this is a photo from a New England Journal of Medicine study, about a 69-year-old man who drove a truck for 28 years, and was exposed to the sun only on the left side of his face.

Sun Damage

Eep! The sun really is our frenemy.

uch as with your family, or group of friends.

A Different Way To Travel: Renting Apartments

May 5, 2013

When traveling, sometimes renting and staying in a private apartment can provide much needed space and a breath of fresh air.

My recent trip to Amsterdam was the first time that I stayed in an apartment rental. And the experience proved to be very pleasant and comfortable.

We booked an apartment through Airbnb. It’s a site which lists rental apartments and houses in thousands of cities around the world. You can use the site to list your own space for rent, or you can use it to book a place before you travel.

Depending on your circumstances and your travel style, renting an apartment can be better in many ways than staying at a hotel. Though I must say, it’s not necessarily cheaper.

But I like staying in private apartments because…

  • First of all… you get to see how other real people live. And you can get a local perspective on that particular city. Since I’m such a nosy rosy, this is something that’s definitely my style!
  • Second, it feels much more homey. The apartment provides the usual comforts of home, like a well-equipped kitchen, a washing machine, a dining table, a balcony and garden (if you’re lucky), and sometimes pretty cool neighbors!
  • Third, when you’re booking the apartment, you’re dealing with the people who live in that house and in that area. So they will know how to give you personalized advice on things to do and things to avoid.

Renting an apartment makes sense if you’re staying somewhere for a while. Say two-weeks, or up to a couple of months. Or if you’re traveling in a large group, like with your family or group of friends, and you can easily split the cost amongst yourselves.

Our hosts were a very friendly couple who graciously accommodated our visit. They met us to hand over the apartment keys, and left us with a little booklet filled with instructions and a guide to the city. Then, for the next three days, we had the apartment entirely to ourselves.

I was the one who ended up picking the apartment on Airbnb. I chose it for its spaciousness and clean, minimalist decor.

For me, this place really did feel like a home away from home!


Comfy Couch

uch as with your family, or group of friends.

Welcoming Willows

Who Dat


Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

Learn More About This Apartment On Airbnb

Have you traveled and stayed in a rented apartment before? If not, would it be something you’d like to try?

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Road Trip To Amsterdam.

May 4, 2013

I’m still beaming from the road trip I just came back from!

Driving around in a car feels like absolute freedom. If you can’t remember the last time you went on a road trip, then it’s been much too long and you should go on one!

Our driving route took us out of Paris, through the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, into Bruges in Belgium, and into Amsterdam for three days.

Then, we drove back down through Gent, with a stay in a little deserted beach town in Belgium called De Panne. We laughingly joked that the town should have been called En Panne (meaning, busted/out of order).

Everything about Amsterdam seemed so new and different for me. Honestly, I went there having no idea of what to expect. Which is sometimes the best way to travel.

Of course, Queen’s Day in Amsterdam was stark raving mad!! It may perhaps have been the biggest party I’ve ever seen.

I did set up my goods on the street. I think people were more interested in buying beers than cosmetics. But nevertheless, it was a great experience! And I’m sure with more experience, I’ll get better about my sales pitch 😉

I saw bikes, bikes, bikes! Everywhere bikes! And beautiful canals and boats. And great sunlight.

The vibe in Amsterdam is just so chill. During Queen’s Day, there were lots of people selling their old things. Like clothes!

I felt like I was in garage sale heaven. A girl ended up just giving me an orange Zara coat, and I bought a hardly used Miu Miu bag and a round knitted hat.

Oh the things that I saw!

But sometimes, it’s better to let photos speak for themselves 🙂

Selling In Amsterdam