Higher SPF sunscreens protect your skin longer than lower SPF sunscreens.
Higher SPF sunscreens do provide more protection from the sun’s harmful rays, but higher SPF does not increase the duration of protection.
Standing in front of a sunscreen counter can be confusing when trying to choose the best protection for you or your family. A common misconception is that by choosing a higher SPF sunscreen, one can spend more time in the sunlight without burning and not have to reapply. SPF (sun protection factor) is based on how much solar energy it takes to burn protected skin compared to unprotected skin.
• SPF 30 blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays
• SPF 50 blocks 98% of the sun’s UVB rays
• SPF 100 blocks 99% of the sun’s UVB rays
There is no sunscreen that blocks 100% of the rays. It is important to remember that high-number SPFs last the same amount of time on the skin as low-number SPFs, so reapplication is critical. Sunscreens should be reapplied approximately every two hours when outdoors and after swimming or sweating.
When the sun is at its peak from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., burns occur more quickly. Using UV protected sunscreen, wide brimmed hats, and seeking shade are all useful in addition to sunscreen. Remember to see a board certified dermatologist for a routine skin exam and any suspicious growths.