CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The temperatures are climbing back into the 90s this week in Charlotte. And as summer has unofficially started, people are spending more time outdoors. So make sure to lather up the sunscreen. But does a higher SPF mean you get more protection?
Do I need to wear anything higher than 30 SPF sunscreen?
No, as long as you are applying correctly the first time and also reapplying, you do not need to wear anything higher than 30 SPF sunscreen.
WHAT WE FOUND
According to the AAD, sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 blocks 97% of the sun's UVB rays. The agency said higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun's UVB rays, but no sunscreen can block 100% of the sun's UVB rays.
"You get into the pharmacy stores and they have numbers up to 100 and 120. And generally, patients think that those are better because they're higher," Dr. Daniel said.
However, she agreed with the AAD saying, "the studies show that an SPF of 30 is generally protective for most skin cancers and photodamage and sun damage related to early aging."
Our expert said if you’re not applying sunscreen well or if you often forget to re-apply, that’s when you can get sunscreen with a higher SPF.
However, the AAD said it is important to remember that high-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs, and that a high-number SPF does not allow you to spend additional time outdoors without reapplication. The association said sunscreen should be reapplied approximately every two hours when outdoors, even on cloudy days.
"So if you're doing SPF 30 or higher every two hours when you're actively out in the sun, then you're doing a good job," Vaglio said.
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