How much SPF do you really need?

null "Actually an SPF 70 doesn't protect you that much better than a SPF 30," said Dr. Shirley Chi, dermatologist.

If a higher SPF product costs more, Dr. Shirley Chi says you can save by sticking with a 30 SPF.

An SPF 30 blocks 97-percent of incoming rays while a 50 SPF or more blocks 99-percent.

But you won't get full protection unless you keep putting it on.

"My rule is if you are out in the sun you re-apply it hour-and-a half," said Dr. Chi.

The best kind is one that blocks both UVA and UVB. Dr. Chi took showed us her top sunscreen picks.

But your pick will depend on whether you want a physical or a chemical one. Do you know the difference?

"Physical sunscreen are basically micronized, tiny particles of metal. And they sit on your skin and they scatter sunlight. They do not react with the surface of your skin like a chemical one," said Dr. Chi.

Chemical sunscreens carry words such as Mexoryl, Avobenzone or Parsol 1789.

Her favorites: La Roche Posay's Antheliosis for $32 dollars, the $9 Neutrogena Dry Touch or Cool Body Mist.

Physical sun blockers contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Dr. Chi prefers physical sun blocks, but they're thicker and not as smooth under makeup. Her personal picks: Blue Lizard for the active person and Eucerin Sensitive Skin Everyday Protection.

"Physical sunblocks are more effective than chemical sunscreens," said Dr. Chi.

If you tend to break out she recommends Bull Frog Quick Gel for $10.

"The gels don't have any cream or oil in them, they're water based. So it's great for the acne prone skin type," said Dr. Chi.

Can you save with the generics? While the main ingredients may be the same, the emollients and preservatives are not. Beware some skins might be sensitive.

"If you don't have a reaction to it that is great you can save money," said Dr. Chi.

Also, Dr. Chi prefers physical sunscreen for kids. She says the physical formulation is less likely to get into a child's blood stream.

One last tip, look for the Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation which guarantees the product meets its standards for safety and effectiveness.

Web Extra Information: Sunblocks recommended by Dr. Shirley Chi

  • Neutrogena Sensitive Skin - $10.69
  • Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Spray - $10.49 (good for men)
  • Blue Lizard -$10.00 (cap actually turns pink in UV light)
  • Bull Frog Quick Gel - $10.00 Good for the Acne Prone skin
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch - $10.49 (good for damaged-prone skin)
  • La Roche Posay Antheliosis - $32 (has new chemical ingredient mexoryl)
  • Eucerin Everyday Protection SPF 30 - $11 (physical sun block)


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