Tuesday, September 12, 2006

sharm 1: spf

spf, short for sun protection factor, is a measure of how well the sunscreen will protect you relative to how fast you'd burn without sunscreen. so if my tender skin burns after 12 minutes of unprotected exposure, a sunscreen of spf 10 will protect me for 12*10=120 minutes (2 hours).

i was in sharm this last weekend, and due to my recent burning, i decided to use a sunscreen with spf 70 (although technically they now have to use spf 30+ because the higher levels don't provide much more protection). for those of you who think it's overkill, you're right.

the damn thing protected me better than a tshirt. i put some on the first day and i spent maybe an hour in the noon sun. nothing. i might as well have stayed in the hotel room. i've never seen the sun so powerless. and the sinai sun is not nicer than the jordanian one. i made the same mistake the second day, and this time i spent a few hours in the sun. again, nothing.

now spending a few days in a beach resort and not having anything to show for it was quite sad, so i decided that for the last day i would aim for first degree burns. i spent around an hour with no sunscreen whatsoever. it worked. my back and arms are burnt to a perfect degree: enough to make me look tanned but not enough to deprive me of sleep (or tshirts).

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