When it comes to SPF, sun protection factor, is there strength in numbers or is SPF 100+ just excessive? 

WebMD defines SPF as to the ability of a sunscreen to block UVB rays, which cause sunburns, but not UVA rays, which are linked to skin damage. SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 94 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent, SPF 50 blocks 98 percent, and SPF 100 blocks 99 percent. There is no sunscreen that offers 100% protection.

"When SPF levels are portrayed on a graph, the graph tends to plateau around SPF 32 to 35. Any 

sunscreen.jpgnumber above that is negligible with regard to protection. For example, an SPF 100 may give an extra 1% protection (at most) but the reality of being able to stay out in the sun longer is a complete hoax," Dr. Tony Kovacs, a California-based VP of Soleo Organics, a natural skincare company said.

The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that in most cases, SPF over 50 is unnecessary.

According to the FDA, the SPF testing system may not accurately measure anything above SPF 50. In 2007, the FDA proposed limiting the maximum labeled SPF value to 50 and any Sunscreen with additional protection would be labeled "SPF 50+". This would keep people from applying small amounts of a high SPF. 

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends children and adults use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Henry Lim, chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit says people should be less wrapped up in the number of SPF and more concerned with the amount of suncreen they use. 

Lim suggests applying enough sunscreen to fill a standard shot glass 20-30 minutes before sun exposure and reapplying every 2 hours. 

Sources- http://www.fitsugar.com/Do-You-Really-Need-SPF-100-Sunscreen-3150355, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-08-05-sunscreen05_st_N.htm, http://www.ellecanada.com/beauty/body/mega-sunscreens/a/29232


I have heard before that any SPF over 30 is no use. However, why would manufacturers keep producing sunscreen with such a high SPF? Is it beneficial somehow? There is, as you said, just a little more protection which can go a long way for someone with very sensitive skin. However, high SPF sunscreen might be misleading. According to Allure.com, the high SPF can trick people into thinking they can be out in the sun longer than is safe. Just because there is a higher SPF doesn't mean that it protects enough for full sun exposer all day long. People need to be aware of the proper techniques in applying sunscreen. Ignorance may be the variable that's causing sunburn, not the sunscreen. There are many possible variables causing sunburn not related to the SPF level.

link: http://www.allure.com/beauty-trends/blogs/daily-beauty-reporter/2011/05/can-a-high-spf-sunscreen-be-a-dangerous-thing.html

THANK GOD FOR THIS ARTICLE. I'm screen shotting it to my Dad who is all about the SPF 100 lotion. He's constantly nagging me about me choice of SPF 15 lotion, saying how his is much more effective. Even my brothers were convinced by him to use SPF 100, yelling at me that I'm asking for cancer by wearing a lower number. This article is amazing proof that I'm really not at much of a bigger risk than the rest of my family. Who doesn't love a good tan? But I do wonder if it's really true that the SPF doesn't effect how many times a day you need to reapply. I'm also interested in how different lotion is from spray on protectant or tanning oil with an SPF in it. I'm a big fan of SPF 15 tanning oil but that could change after seeing a comparison of that and SPF 15 lotion. I'll have to look into it...

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