Is sunblock with SPF 100 actually better than SPF 50?
Sunscreen is probably the worst part of your morning skincare routine — seriously, finding a sunscreen that’s not greasy, won’t make you break out, and doesn’t stink is akin to finding Gucci loafers on sale — but it’s also arguably the most important. And recently, a new study reinforced the importance of not only wearing SPF every day, but also made us ask ourselves, “Should I wear SPF 100?”
“Most studies show that the higher the SPF, the more protection is provided. However, once you’re comparing SPF levels higher than 30, the difference in added protection is marginal,” Ron Robinson of BeautyStat.com tells HelloGiggles. But in a major plot twist, this new study concluded that SPF 100+ was significantly more effective than SPF 50 (and, therefore, SPFs less than 50) at preventing sunburn.
So does that mean you should be slathering on SPF 100 on the daily?
Not quite. “While the results of the study are intriguing, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First, in medicine, we try not to base treatment recommendations on any single study. Recommendations are generally based on data from dozens, if not hundreds of studies that all show similar results,” Jamal Downer, Walgreens Pharmacist and their Sun Protection Expert from Walgreens‘ Destination Healthy Skin pop up with the Skin Cancer Foundation, tells HelloGiggles.
Another thing to consider:
"Higher SPF sun protection can often be thicker and less esthetically desirable, which can mean in the long run, it may not be applied properly," Downer says.
Robinson adds that the study was conducting in Vail, Colorado, which has a high elevation.
“The higher elevation the sun is more intense, meaning more UV rays can reach the ground. So in this locale, higher SPF can make a big difference in protecting the skin.” But would he recommend SPF 100+ for everyday use based on this study? “In higher elevations, yes, absolutely. In settings closer to sea level, I’d recommend a minimum of SPF 30.”
If you want to get your SPF 100 on, there aren’t a ton of options available currently. But we recommend Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+, $12.99, or Banana Boat Ultra Defense Max Skin Protect Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 100, $11.99.