In sunscreen, higher SPF doesn't guarantee much more protection

When choosing a bottle of sunscreen don't just look at SPF; look for zinc
By Jason Spencer | May 25, 2016
While the summer solstice that marks the beginning of summer isn't until June, Memorial Day is often considered the first unofficial days of summer. School will let out soon, people break out their grills, and trips to the beach find their way onto the calendar.

Summer also means sunscreen and navigating the confusion that is the grocery store shelves lined with bottles ranging from SPF 5 to creams with blocking powers well past 100. However, WTVM reminds us we shouldn't be swayed by big numbers, as big numbers doesn't mean 100% protection.

"Once you get to a 30 or 40 SPF you're blocking 97 percentof the UVB rays," said Dr. WarrenSeirler, a cosmetic laser surgeon hailing from Alabama. "It doesn't say anything about UVA. All of the number that it gives you extra SPF is simply just more chemical that gives you a half to maybe one percent more coverage of UVB."

Dr. Seirler also notes that many sunscreens, even ones with a bigger SPF number, lack zinc, which is a key ingredient if you don't want to get burned. It is why he recommends medical sunscreen over big name brands.

"There's a huge difference between over the counter and medical grade sunscreen.Medical grade sunscreen is going to have zinc, which is the only thing that truly fully blocks UVA which is the more damaging of the rays of the sun,"saidSeirler.

A list of sunscreens that offer the most protection can be found on EWG.org.

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