Sunscreen Myths 3/3 – Higher SPF means better protection?

Hey people…Howz the week started?

Another myth buster post on sunscreen usage this time for you all…


Higher SPF from chemical sunscreens means better protection from the sun.


Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to protection only from the UVB rays of the sun.

PA rating denotes the protection from UVA rays.

If you are wearing a sunscreen with higher SPF ratings, chances are there that you are not getting enough protection at all.

Many US & European medical associations have reiterated the fact that –

“Higher SPF ratings can be misleading, tempting you to stay out in the sun longer too & cause you incur damage that is not immediately visible”.

Here is a chart denoting sun protection offered by various SPF ratings –

As we saw in our earlier post, much damage is caused by UVA rays which can penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers too.

UVA protection is characterized by the PA rating in a sunscreen, which is most often neglected or not emphasized enough even till date.

Researchers consider a rating of PA++ in a sunscreen to provide optimal UVA protection.

Much of the sun protection brouhaha also depends on when, how much & how well you apply your sunscreen before sun exposure.

A sunscreen/sunblock offering protection against both UVA & UVB rays is generally termed as a ‘broad spectrum’ product.

Dermatologists worldwide claim that, a mineral sunscreen with broad spectrum protection & with an SPF rating of 30 itself is good enough to protect better against photodamage and serious skin cancer issues, than products that come with a higher SPF tag.

The amount of SPF in a sunscreen is also determined by the geography you dwell in, because it is a major deciding factor of how much & how harsh rays of the sun you receive.

Here is a chart detailing the same –

It also goes unsaid that children need better protection since their skin is more sensitive than adults.

You can calculate how much SPF you need also based on the amount of hours you think you spend in the sun each day…

You can very well see in each of the above charts & figures, that no where a sunscreen is recommended above SPF 50!

But we still have brands in the market launching SPF 70, 90 & even 100! 🙂

Researchers also mention on a light note that –

With lesser SPF ratings, one is more likely to remember & re-apply sunscreen – which is not a drawback at all! 🙂

Hope you liked this post!

How much SPF & PA rating you have in your current sunscreen?

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