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Is There A Difference Between SPF 30 And SPF 80?

Shopping for sunscreen can be overwhelming with all the products available today. First, it’s important to understand what SPF means. SPF stands for sun protection factor, which refers to the ability of protection a sunscreen has against ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which is what creates a burn on your skin as a warning sign that you’re being burnt.  UVA rays are more closely linked to causing deeper skin damage, however both UVA and UVB rays contribute to the risk of skin cancer. The SPF number is a quantifiable measurement to indicate the time it would take you to burn if you were not wearing sunscreen versus the amount of time it would take to burn with sunscreen.

Logically it makes sense to assume that SPF 30 is twice as effective as SPF 15, but in reality that is not the case. Instead, an SPF 15 product would block about 94 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 would block 97 percent. It is important to remember that there are no sunscreens available on the market that can successfully block 100 percent of all UVB rays and reapplication is necessary to take advantage of all the protection your particular sunscreen can provide, especially after jumping in the water.

When choosing a sunscreen it is ideal to get a broad spectrum sunscreen. This ensures that is provides a stabilized formula to effectively protect against both UVA and UVB rays. If you do apply SPF 30, it isn’t likely you’ll achieve that level of protection unless you use a significant amount at more frequent intervals. If you wind up applying SPF 80, the likelihood of you achieving protection at the level of at least SPF 30 is almost guaranteed, however you need to apply generously in order to receive the intended protection. Most people don’t utilize all of the SPF protection because of their incorrect application practices.

Cosmetic dermatologists, such as fellowship-trained Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, receive specialized training in order to develop skills in diagnosing, testing for and treating skin cancer such as melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and signs that indicate danger. Dr. Rokhsar is a laser and skin care surgeon that can take care of all medical and surgical dermatology needs.

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About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar is the founder and owner of Cosmetic Laser Skin & Surgery Center. With degrees from Harvard University and NYU, along with multiple publications and media features, the double board-certified dermatologist and laser surgeon proudly shares his expertise with patients in Garden City, Manhattan, and those who fly in to receive treatment at his offices. Dr. Rokhsar has worked extensively with Vbeam laser, Thermitight, Coolsculpting, and Fraxel laser technology, as well as Allergan and other injectable brands. He pioneered the Non-Surgical Nose Job and continues to be a leader in his field.

Learn more about Dr. Rokhsar | Dr. Rokhsar's Google Scholar