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By Divya Rai

Is Higher SPF always better?

The Breakdown:

The SPF of a sunscreen is a measure of protection against UV radiation. It tells you how many more times you are protected from UV radiation when using the sunscreen correctly vs. without sun protection. The SPF rating only measures a sunscreen's effectiveness in protecting against UVB rays, which are primarily responsible for sunburns. However, it does not measure protection against UVA rays, which can cause long-term damage to the skin & contribute to skin aging and skin cancer.

Dermatologist's Opinion:

Dr. Anjali recommends using at least an SPF 30. At SPF 30 you are protected from 97% of UVB, whereas at SPF 50, you are protected from 99% of these rays. The difference between the two here is minor in terms of sun protection. What's more important is that the sunscreen is applied correctly in the right amount (which is 2mg/cm square. or 2 finger tips full for the face and neck.) and after every 3 hours while exposed to UV light.

Our Chemists' Take:

A higher SPF is not always better because SPF protection is not linear: a sunscreen with an SPF 30 does not provide twice the protection of an SPF 15 sunscreen. In fact an SPF 15 sunscreen blocks about 93% of UVB rays while an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks about 97%. So there is only a marginal increase in protection. Higher SPF can lead to a false sense of security. People may apply a higher SPF sunscreen and think they are much better protected leading them to spend more time in the sun without re-applying. This emphasis on a higher SPF may lead some formulators to focus more on boosting the SPF rating than on ensuring that the sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection.

Our View:

SPF ratings should not be the only parameter when you decide which sunscreen to use. We believe the best sunscreen is the one you enjoy using.


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