What You Don’t Know About Sunscreen SPF Could Burn You This Summer
A new study says you need to be wearing SPF 100. Here are the best sunscreens to choose from.
Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, meaning the unofficial start of summer is already here. And though there’s plenty to look forward to in the coming months (Hello, BBQ season!) there’s one thing we all fear: the dreaded sunburn.
Luckily, it’s easier than ever to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. But just how protected do you need to be? According to a new analysis published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, everyone should be rocking SPF 100 all summer long.
According to the researchers, wearing SPF 50 sunscreen simply won’t cut it as it can lead to significantly more sun-induced skin damage than if you were wearing SPF 100 or more.
But what does SPF mean anyway? As Sejal Shah, a dermatologist in New York City, explained to Allure, SPF stands for "sun protection factor” and indicates how much sun exposure you're actually getting when you're outside. "SPF 15 protects against 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 protects against 97 percent, and SPF 50 is about 98 percent," Shah said.
SPF 100, on the other hand, will keep out 99 percent.
“It doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but if you look at it the other way, you’re getting twice the exposure with the 50 than with the 100,” Darrell Rigel, dermatologist and co-author of the new SPF study, told The Cut. “Cumulatively over time, that adds up. The analogy I give is: there are two taxis. In one taxi the meter is going twice as fast. Over time, you’re going to damage your skin twice as fast.”
If you’re looking for full sun protection this summer for you and your family, try testing out these four formulas before hitting the beach. And make sure to read our complete guide to sunscreen, and how to apply effectively, before you go.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100
Neutrogena’s lightweight, broad spectrum formula is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and its dry-touch technology means it won’t feel greasy as you slather it on. You can wear this as an everyday sunscreen under makeup or to work as it doesn’t have that typical sunscreen scent.
To buy: amazon.com, $8
Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100
If you’re on the hunt for something easier to apply, look no further than Banana Boat’s Sport Performance Sunscreen Spray. The continuous spray will allow users to hit every angle for ultimate protection. All you need to do is reapply every two hours.
To buy: amazon.com, $8
Coppertone Kids Sport Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 100
Like Banana Boat, Coppertone’s Continuous Spray allows anyone to get full protection in seconds. This spray will also protect you in the water for up to 80 minutes, but it’s always a good idea to reapply after you towel off.
To buy: amazon.com, $9
Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Anti-Ageing, Anti-Tan Ultra Sunblock SPF 100
Like Aveeno, Lotus Herbals will protect your face and give it a mini-facial at the same time. The lotion is formulated with thyme, licorice, and soy protein, which the company says “increases elasticity of your skin and stimulates collagen, while slowing down the onset of wrinkles.” And hey, that’s what sunscreen does anyway too, so the more positive ingredients the better.
To buy: amazon.com, $39