Skin Health
Sun and Light Skintelligence: Sunscreen Checklist
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If higher values can manage risk, should I just choose the sunscreen with the highest-possible SPF?
Yes and no. SPF is only one of the factors to consider.

  • Does the sunscreen protect against other light (UVA, Visible, Infrared)?
  • How reputable is the company (have they published in medical journals)?
  • How legitimate is the SPF claim: how are the values tested? Just in vitro (simulated skin in a lab)? Or in vivo (volunteers in actual-use conditions; the gold standard and quite uncommon — Armada, with both in vitro + in vivo testing, is a rarity)?
  • Is the sunscreen a cream (because gels and sprays are far less effective)?
  • Does the rest of the formulation help or hurt (because allergens and comedogens can cause other problems…some ingredients can even make the sunscreen actives less stable)?
  • What about the actives (because some sunscreens are photolabile or degrade when exposed to light)?

All these considerations should go into your selection process, not just an ultra-high SPF.