Sunscreen: the Real Story

Which SPF is best?

By Jacques Bourgeois May 1, 2014

When it comes to protecting your children from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, a sure-fire option is, of course, simply staying in the shade. But as any parent knows, that’s easier said than done. Hence the need for protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. But which products and which SPF numbers are best? 

“You really want to choose a sunscreen with an SPF from 15 to 30 for protection,” says Dr. Hayes-Jordan. “Sunscreens with an SPF higher than 30 are not necessarily increasing your protection against UV rays, but anything less than an SPF of 15 isn’t doing enough.” 

Beyond that, it’s important to read the label. Some sunscreens are intended exclusively for use on the face, while some may contain allergens. Remember to apply it 15 to 30 minutes before exposure, reapply a liberal amount every two hours or as instructed on the label, and reapply again after swimming.

Everyone should wear sunscreen, Dr. Hayes-Jordan emphasizes. Darker skin pigments face the same dangers as lighter ones. “No matter what your skin pigment, just because you don’t feel the burn, doesn’t mean it’s not hurting you,” she says. “Everyone should practice safe skin protection against the sun’s UV rays.”

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