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Difference Between SPF-30 and SPF-80 Sunscreen

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.

About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, is the founder and medical director of the New York Cosmetic, Skin, & Laser Surgery Center. Dr. Rokhsar is a graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Rokhsar is double board certified in dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery, being one of the few select dermatologists in the country who is also fellowship trained in laser surgery. A researcher and innovator, Dr. Rokhsar is the creator of the non-surgical nose job and has been instrumental in the research and development of laser systems such as the Fraxel, CO2, Mirady, Vbeam, Themitight, and Ulthera devices. An Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Dr. Rokhsar actively teaches the cosmetic dermatology clinic to the resident at Mount Sinai. An expert injector of fillers, and a trainer for many companies, patients fly in from around the world to see Dr. Rokhsar in his Garden City and Manhattan offices in New York.

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