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Wear Stronger Sunscreen

A new study goes against FDA claims about SPF 50.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE SCIENCE
Researchers in Vail, Colorado, asked people to cover one side of their faces with SPF 50 sunscreen and the other side with SPF 100 before going outside. They found that after six hours in the sun, the side slathered with SPF 50 was 11 times more likely to be burned. The findings go against the FDA’s claim that there's no benefit to using sunscreens with SPFs higher than 50. 
EXPERT INSIGHT
“In the lab, SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of UV rays and SPF 100 blocks 99 percent,” says study author Darrell Rigel, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. But people notoriously use too little sunscreen when they go running, biking, or to the beach.

Rigel’s new research shows that in the amounts used from day to day, SPF 100 is in fact much better at protecting your skin than SPF 50. Burns fade within a few days, but the other side effects like wrinkles and cancer develop over time. “You can’t turn back the clock, but you can protect yourself now,” Rigel says. 
THE BOTTOM LINE
It's time to adopt new sunscreen habits: When it comes to protecting your skin from UV damage, the higher the SPF, the better, Rigel says. 

Photo: Nate Hoffman/thelicensingproject.com