Sunscreen can be confusing. From choosing an option in the store to applying the product, you may find yourself asking a multitude of questions - Once the SPF level gets above 50, does it honestly make a difference? Do I really have to reapply every 2 hours? Am I putting enough product on? Knowing the answers to these questions can save you from a future of skin devastation.
The Damage of Overexposure to Sunlight
Before you forgo the sunscreen in hopes of getting a nice summer tan, make sure you know the future damage you’re doing to your body. The World Health Organization classifies UV rays (sunlight) as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning it is a known cause of cancer to humans. Sunlight also has an alarmingly strong effect on the way your skin ages. In fact, a 2013 study found that 80% of skin aging signs are brought on by UV light exposure. Luckily, studies have also shown that using a sun protection method, such as sunscreen, can help you avoid any critical, long-term damage.
It’s A Bit More Complicated Than “Higher SPF = Better”
The question remains, what level of SPF do you need to protect yourself? The old way of thinking is there isn’t any real benefit to SPF levels higher than 50. This has been proven wrong. A recent study, which compared the effectiveness of SPF 50 against Neutrogena’s SPF 100+ shows quite the opposite. The SPF 100 was substantially more effective at preventing sunburns than SPF 50.
In addition to using a higher SPF sunscreen, it’s also important to use the correct amount of product. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most people apply only 25% - 50% of the recommended amount. As a rule of thumb, the amount used should be equivalent to a shot glass in order to get the full benefits.
Unfortunate News For Consumers
The Food and Drug Administration is looking to make a few changes to how sunscreen is labeled. They have proposed a modification that would label any sunscreen with a SPF greater than 50, as “SPF 50+”. This label restriction would be an unfortunate move for consumers as it takes away their power to knowingly select a product that would better protect their skin.
To get a product that works, consumers need to be informed. We suggest that when you’re in the market for a bottle of sunscreen, choose Neutrogena’s SPF 100+ to protect yourself.