Does SPF 70 really matter?

Categories: BLOG

photo courtesy of allure.com

A new dermatology study shows sunscreens with SPF 70+ MAY actually provide more protection.  The study theorizes this is because all of us routinely under-apply sunscreen. We are supposed to apply 2 mg/cm2 of sunscreen (approximately 1 oz of sunscreen for the body or a shot glass full). However, the actual protection we receive is typically much less because we use too little sunscreen (the patients in this study were typically using sunscreen ranging from 0.5 to 1 mg/cm2.)

http://www.medwire-news.md/66/98668/Dermatology/Inadequate_protection_provided_by_sunscreen_with_SPFs_below_70.html

This study is fascinating, because in line with the American Academy of Dermatology, I typically was only recommending SPF 30 – 45 sunscreen with frequent re-application.   Any SPF over 30, when properly applied, protects against 97% of the sun’s damaging rays. However, if not properly applied, there is much lower protection.  So, this study may be a paradigm shift!

Thus I recommend:

  • Find an SPF 70+ sunscreen that you like and start using it!
  • If the SPF 70 is too thick or greasy, keep going with your SPF 30-45. Just insure that you are using the appropriate amount and be sure to re-apply every 90-120 minutes.  For example, I typically use an SPF 30 formulation that I like on my face, and an SPF 70 spray for my body (and frequently re-apply, especially when I am in the sun!)

Remember, sunscreen is important for all skin types including ethnic skin, brown skin, and sensitive skin!  It is the most important tool we have against discoloration, aging, and skin cancer.  Sunscreen is more effective and much less expensive than any anti-aging cream, so please use it!

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