While working with SPF is a simple and important task, much of this process is difficult to understand. For a start, what do these SPF numbers generally indicate? And which one should you use? They rise to 100 – but is it really necessary, especially when many brands sell moisturizers and sunscreens with SPF 15?
We directed these and other questions to a group of certified dermatologists in order to gain some clarity regarding the SPF and the standards we need to set when purchasing and applying it.
Turns out it's not everything the number of SPFs, which in itself can be misleading for most consumers. But let's start there:
How does SPF work
Mariana Atanasowski, MD, splits SPF figures well: “SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98%, and SPF 100 blocks 99%,” says Atanasovsky. UVB rays are the “photo-aging” of your skin with dark spots, wrinkles and leathery tan. Let's imagine that you are one who is not at all inclined to any tanning bed or whose skin is so light that it burns only in the sun. In this case, Atanasovsky offers to invest in SPF 100. Otherwise, most of us can count on SPF 50, and this provides 98% protection. If you want a little tan, you can retire up to 30 SPF.
Finally, make sure your sunscreen is labeled as “broad spectrum,” which means that it also blocks UVA rays – those that cause skin cancer. For this scale it is smaller – usually it blocks them or not. So buy “wide spectrum” products just for sure. We like:
SPF 30 is a good place to start.
Most dermatologists who participated in our survey suggested starting with at least SPF 30, because it provides 97% coverage compared to 93% of SPF 15. (Again, this percentage refers to the amount of blocked UV rays.) You still get a little tan and glow with SPF 30, that no dermatologist will ever say that it is good. As not dermatologists, we can calmly talk about summer tan when you follow the rest of this advice and gradually get a tan.
“Everyone should use at least 30 SPFs every day with a wide range of coverage, regardless of whether you plan to spend your time outdoors,” says Dr. Audra Isaac Grossman. This includes your daily moisturizer, even in winter. We like:
The SPF number is usually incorrect, but this is not a brand error.
Because of a human error, we usually do not get the SPF value that we chose. You need to lather abundantly on the lotion to get all its benefits, and reapply every 60–90 minutes and immediately after bathing or sweating.
“No one in the real world gets the SPF that is on the bottle,” says Dr. Curtis Asbury. "No one puts on a sunscreen thick enough to do this." Studies have been conducted in the real world, which show that the average person wearing SPF 30 sunscreen receives only a small fraction of this rating because he does not apply enough. Because of this, everyone should wear the highest SPF that they can reasonably use. If they use sunscreen with an SPF 70 rating, then they may come close to getting an SPF 30. ”
It's all about the ingredients
Not all of our respondents primarily support SPF numbers. Some focus more on the active ingredients used. “Look for zinc oxide and / or titanium dioxide sunscreen to get better protection,” says Brenda Dintiman, MD. Excellent for sensitive skin and does not cause irritation. All of them are at least SPF 50 or higher, and will prevent skin cancer and aging. ”
- Tizo SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen [$41.99; amazon.com]
One issue to focus on: how often do you apply
Again, reapplication is key. You cannot cover yourself with a single layer of SPF and expect it to protect you all day. “After a few hours of swimming or sweating, your SPF 100 is as good as SPF 15 if you don’t regularly reapply,” says Marcie Alvarez, DO. “I usually recommend sprays and aerosols for those who lead an active lifestyle. Look for the words "80-minute water resistance" and "invisible zinc."
Try other measures of UV blocking
If you are obsessed with effective coverage, think about something more than sunscreen. “Something that is often overlooked as an option for photoprotection is clothing,” says Audra Isaac Grossman, “There are many great brands available in various price categories that offer lightweight UPF shirts (UV protection factor). ), which eliminate some of the inconvenience associated with sunscreen. re. "
- Hanes UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Tees [$16; hanes.com]
- Coolibar UPF 50+ Long Sleeve T-Shirt [$55; coolibar.com]
She also recommends an oral supplement to protect the skin: “Some daily antioxidants, such as [fern-based] Heliocare can also be useful in preventing UV damage, but should not replace other sun protection measures. ”
- Heliocar Sun Supplement [$40, month supply; amazon.com]