We should all know by now that sunscreen is a daily must, whether or not we're basking on the beach. But what is the optimal SPF number we should be reaching for? Does it actually matter or is it just peace of mind?
If you compare the consistency of SPF 30 and SPF 70, the lower number always goes on smoother and is generally easier to rub in. And intuitively, it would seem like it doesn't give as much protection as a higher SPF. But what if we told you the number sort of doesn't matter above a certain threshold? We're no dermatologists, so we tapped Board-Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Stacy Chimento, MD, of Riverchase Dermatology in Miami Beach, FL to set the record straight, once and for all.
"There are multiple factors that affect the efficacy of sunscreen, not just the SPF. However, in simplest terms, SPF 30 is the standard, as it protects against 97 percent of the sun's UVB rays," says Dr. Chimento. "Many experts recommend starting out at SPF 50 or 70, but they really only offer one to two percent more protection than SPF 30," she adds. However, Dr. Chimento warns that anything under SPF 30 doesn't provide enough protection, while anything over that threshold won't cause any harm. It's also important to mention that with any number SPF, you should still be reapplying throughout the day. You heard the woman: SPF 30 or bust.