Is Higher SPF Sunscreen Better? Study Recommends SPF 100+

More is usually better; that’s the common wisdom. But when it comes to sunscreen and Sun Protection Factor ratings, the answer’s not that simple. Manufacturers, of course, would love to keep increasing the numbers on the labels. To take advantage of most consumers’ reaction to a higher number for something easy to understand, like SPF. Some medical researchers into skin cancer object to the arms race underway in SPF ratings.

But, when the issue was investigated clinically, it turns out higher SPF ratings really do offer proportionally greater protection for your skin against the sun. One study conducted by New York University compared sunscreen with two different SPF ratings. One rated for SPF 50, and the other for SPF 100. Study participants literally divided their faces, applying each sunscreen to one half. After hours in the sun, researchers examined their faces to measure sun damage on their skin.

The SPF 100 sides of their faces was more protected. Over half of them had higher levels of sunburn on the SPF 50 sides of their faces. In fact, the researchers calculated the chance of sunburn was about ten times higher when using the lower SPF rating sunscreen.

So, for sunscreen, more is better. Or, at least, higher. But be sure you’re applying the correct amounts, in the correct ways, to receive the protection your skin needs.

Key Points:

  • 1SPF stands for sun protection factor and the chemicals literally help protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • 2The numbers are logarithmic going up only from 93% protection at 15 SPF to 97% at 30.
  • 3You will get a certain amount of exposure still with the SPF but increasing protects you overall.


Didn’t matter your skin type, age, or gender, the SPF 100 was always better.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators.The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

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