SPF 100 Sunscreen – Are Higher Numbers Better?

Sunscreen seems to have gotten way too complicated.  Should you use SPF 100 sunscreen vs. SPF 30?  The higher number is not always better.

People who use SPF 100 tend to stay out in the sun longer and don’t reapply resulting in harmful UV exposure.  They have a false sense of security in using high SPF products.

So what do all these SPF numbers really mean? Theoretically, if you apply a SPF 100 you could stay in the sun a hundred times longer before your skin would burn.  So if normally you would burn in 30 minutes, you could remain in the sun for 50 hours by applying SPF 100 before burning.

Reality is a different story.  Using a higher SPF may lead to more UV damage to your skin:

  • Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen in the first place.  SPF factors are based on 2-5 times more sunscreen than people actually use.
  • High SPF products contain higher amounts of sun blocking chemicals.  These chemicals can penetrate the skin causing health risks (tissue damage and potential hormone disruption.)
  • Many don’t reapply when using a higher SPF.  Many sun blocking chemicals break down after a couple hours leaving your skin unprotected.

The doubling of the SPF  does not mean a doubling of UV protection.

  • SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks 97% UVB rays
  • SPF 50 blocks 99% UVB rays

The sensible approach is to limit your stay in the sun, wear a hat & protective clothing and apply an organic sunscreen that isn’t laden with toxic chemicals and reapply often for best sun protection.

About Julie Berquist

As a breast cancer survivor, I am passionate about educating others on chemicals in skin care. I created a website to offer chemical free skin care products for a healthier lifestyle.
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4 Responses to SPF 100 Sunscreen – Are Higher Numbers Better?

  1. Jamie Lynn says:

    Thank you for offering such a great sunscreen. It is nice to know that I am putting something healthy on my skin.

  2. andrea gonzalez says:

    hi thanks but it wasnt helpful at all i need help with why spf100 is more protective than spf30

    • Hi Andrea,

      An SPF 100 blocks 100% UVB rays where an SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays. So using an SPF 100 doesn’t mean your protection is more than doubled. It only increases the protection by 3% over an SPF 30. An SPF 100 will usually have more chemical ingredients added which can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Let me know if that helps! Julie

  3. You’ve got very interesting points! p.s. wonderful web site.

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