Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

1 Million SPF Sunscreens For Beautiful Skin?

Yes, I'm kidding.  I have yet to see any sunscreens with a listed SPF of 1 million.  Will it ever happen?

The SPFs numbers have been spiraling upwards over the past few years.  I have seen SPFs of 100.  Recently when I was shopping the sunscreen aisles in Malibu, California looking for a good sun protection product I spotted several products with 70, 80, 85 and even 100 SPF.

Do you need an SPF with a factor of 100?  Neutrogena makes UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock with a posted SPF of 100.

Note: Refer to Summer Hair Tips and Summer Hair Smarts: Quick Tips To Avoid Sun-Damaged Locks for hair care information.

Banana Boat makes Ultra Defense with an SPF of 85 while Hawaiian Tropic makes the ultimate ozone block of 80.  I actually purchased the Neutrogena and Hawaiian Tropic for my very fair skin and both worked like a charm.

Why are SPF factors going sky high?  Some skin experts believe most people who apply sunscreen to their bodies don't get the full SPF value as listed on the bottle.

So what is the right amount of SPF to apply?  According to the experts you should pour the sunscreen into a shot glass for the average sized face and body.  If you have more body or skin to cover, you may need 1 1/2 to 2 shot glasses.

Current thinking is that if you start with the highest number of SPF like 100 and apply the formula incorrectly, at least your still getting good protection versus if you applied SPF 30 incorrectly.

A downside to higher SPF numbers is that they most likely contain much higher levels of active ingredients which may cause skin irritation for some.  I know that some of the higher SPF formulas do burn my skin, which is why I search for spray formulas rather than creams or lotions.

(Image from Haap Media Inc., - All Rights Reserved)

There is also a concern by some sun care experts that the higher the SPF the less concerned consumers will be about being proactive with their use of SPF formulas.

Super high SPFs might give sun worshippers a false sense of sun protection security which could put them at an even higher risk for sun damage or skin cancer.

Regardless of the number of SPF protection you still must reapply the formula every two hours or immediately after swimming.  Even if you use an SPF of 100 you still must keep reapplying the product to get proper protection.  It may be a pain to keep reapplying but it's a very important step to blocking out the burning rays of the sun.

Of course there's also the controversy about whether or not any type of sunblock can harm the human body by blocking out necessary Vitamin D benefits.  I won't even go there for now.

However, if you are shopping for an SPF remember the following tips:

1.  Buy a product from a brand you trust or have a good sun protection history with.

2.  Select a product with a high enough SPF for your skin type and burn prevention needs.  Whether that SPF is 30, 50 or 100, only you know for sure.

3.  If you are unsure of the best SPF factor, start at the highest end and experiment.  You can also work your way down the SPF chain but if you start too low and get burned you are defeating your purpose.

(Image courtesy of Haap Media, Inc., - All Rights Reserved)

4.  If your skin is sensitive to chemicals opt for sprays. 

5.  Always reapply on schedule or after getting wet.

6.  Don't neglect your scalp or hair when applying sunscreen.  If you prefer a different protection formula for hair and scalp be sure to reapply them appropriately as well.

7.  Do your research and make sure you stay up on any latest SPF product developments.

8.  If you burn easily consider supplementing your SPF lotions with hats, sun umbrellas or any other accessories that will help block out the sun.

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