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Is SPF 100 More Effective? Dermatologists Say No

July 16, 2021

By Andrea Esparza

RENO, Nev. (KRNV) — Sunrays are the strongest during the summer and the best way to protect your skin is by applying sunscreen. However, while walking down the store aisles, customers can be overwhelmed with all the sunblock options.

When comparing a sunscreens SPF 50 to 100, it is natural to think the highest SPF number provides the best coverage. However, that is not the case.

According to, the sun protection factor number tells you how long the sun’s UV radiation would take to burn your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen.

For example, if you are using sunscreen with SPF 50, it will take you 50 times longer to burn from the sun than if you weren’t wearing any. One might assume wearing an SPF 100 would be the same logic, but it doesn’t work that way.

SPF 50 provided 97% coverage from UVA and UVB rays, while SPF 100 protects the skin from 98.5% of rays.

In 2011 the FDA acknowledged brands advertising sunscreen with an SPF of over 100 misleads customers. The Nevada Center of Dermatology agrees that companies are spreading a false narrative about sunscreen.

“SPF 100 creates a false sense of security. People buy it thinking because it has a high SPF, they don’t have to reapply. There isn’t enough evidence to prove that SPF 100 provides better coverage. We at the office don’t even use SPF 100. It is all marketing. You pay more money and for little to no results,” says Ashely Vazeen, a nurse practitioner at The Nevada Center of Dermatology.

Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or 50, but the real converge occurs with reapplication. Doctors at the Nevada Center of Dermatology emphasize the importance of reapplying sunscreen. They also say there isn’t a big difference when it comes to comparing cheap and expensive sunscreen.

“It really doesn’t matter. As long as you’re wearing sunscreen and reapplying you are good to go. Just buy a sunscreen you like, because if you don’t like you won’t wear it and that is harmful to the skin, ” says Vazeen.

View the article on KOLO News 8

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