SPF 100 sunscreen: Myth or Magic?

Everyone is talking about the importance of sunscreen today. SPF is the hot topic of the entire skincare industry, and all the brands are trying to put their best foot forward with sunscreen. Every day, some other brand comes up with a new sunscreen that claims to be better than the existing ones in the market.

Different formulations, different packaging, different SPF levels, and different ingredient lists can all be very overwhelming for consumers. One of the claims that every brand is claiming is that ‘More the SPF, the better the Sun protection.’ But is it actually true? In this blog, we will understand sunscreen, its SPF level, and what SPF is best for protecting our skin.

Let's start by understanding What is SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number that is printed on your sunscreen bottle is called the SPF. SPF is a standard scale that determines the amount of UV radiation it takes to burn sun protected skin and unprotected skin. So, to put it simply, SPF is the sunscreen’s UV B protection.

What is the difference between UV A and UV B rays?

UV A: Its wavelength is 320 to 400 nm, and it is not absorbed by the body directly.  It penetrates deeper into the skin than UV B. It is the main cause of photoaging, tanning, exogenous photosensitization and photocarcinogenesis. 

UV B: Its wavelength is 290 to 320 nm. It is responsible for causing severe damage to the skin and impacts the DNA cell directly. It can cause acute damage like Sunburn and long-term damage like Skin Cancer. 

SPF grading system

There are so many sunscreens on the market that have different levels of sun protection. Let's decode them one by one and try to understand the concept of SPF more. 

  1. SPF 2-15: It offers 93.3 % sun protection from UV B rays

  2. SPF 30: It offers 96.7% sun protection from UV B rays 

  3. SPF 45: It offers 97.8% sun protection from UV B rays

  4. SPF 50: It offers 98% sun protection from UV B rays

  5. SPF 60: It filters almost 98% of UV B rays 

  6. SPF 70: It offers 99% sun protection from UV B rays 

  7. SPF 100: It offers almost 99.9% protection from UV B rays

The difference between SPF 30 and SPF 100 sunscreen is only 3%, and the difference between SPF 50 and SPF 100 is even smaller. It is also clear from this data that no sunscreen offers 100% protection from UV rays.

However, SPF 100 is the highest protection sunscreen available in the market, which blocks almost 99.9 % of UV rays. This extreme level of protection is great for people with lesser melanin content in their skin, who are fair, have sensitive skin or are prone to sunburn and photodamage.

The right SPF for you!

There are many factors that you should consider before deciding the right SPF for yourself. Let's look at them one by one.

  • Skin type: People with fair skin tone are more prone to sunburn as their skin has lesser melanin. Melanin is the pigment that helps protect the skin from skin damage and gives it a brown colour. We Indians are known for our beautiful brown colour, which means our bodies produce more melanin. Does that mean that we do not need sun protection? No, while we do have higher melanin content, our skin still needs sun protection as it is still susceptible to UV damage. However, it is not necessary to use SPF 100 sunscreen; SPF 50 or 60 is also a great option if you use it adequately and reapply it throughout the day. 

  • Sun Exposure: if your sun exposure is minimal or if you are someone who spends most of their time indoors, you do not need sunscreen with a very high SPF like SPF 100. A sunscreen with SPF 30 or 40 would work great for you. However, if you are someone who spends most of your day outdoors, you need to wear highly protective sunscreen. Anything with SPF 50 or above will work great for you.  

  • Climate and environment: Climate also plays an important role when it comes to sun damage. If you live at higher altitudes, it is advisable to use higher SPF sunscreen as exposure to UV radiation increases due to a thinner atmosphere. Also, at places with reflective surfaces like water, sand and snow, it is advised to wear high-protection SPF as these surfaces reflect UV rays, intensifying sun exposure. So, if you live in such areas or you are planning a vacation to such places, make sure to get yourself sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or more.

  • Skin type: Today, sunscreens come in a variety of textures and formulations. Choose a sunscreen with a consistency you like, and that suits your skin. Try to avoid ingredients like fragrance and parabens, as these might irritate your skin and cause allergic reactions.

So, do you need sunscreen with SPF 100? Let's decide with a Pros and Cons list.

Pros of SPF 100 Sunscreen

  • Enhanced Sun Protection: SPF 100 provides the maximum protection(99.9%) from UV B rays, which is great for someone with high exposure to sunlight. This enhanced protection is particularly beneficial for individuals with fair or sensitive skin, those prone to sunburn, or those with a history of skin cancer.

  • Ideal for people with skin sensitivity and serious skin conditions: people with skin conditions like Lupus or photosensitivity disorders require enhanced sun protection as they are much more susceptible to sun damage. 

  • Great for outdoor activities: If you are someone who loves to sweat it all out outdoors, SPF 100 offers high protection and durability against friction, sweat and water. 

Cons of SPF 100 Sunscreen

  • Texture and consistency: SPF 100 formulations are usually very heavy and greasy, which might not be the most comfortable feeling on your skin. It can feel oily and might clog your pores, leading to acne and breakouts. 

  • Proper application: To achieve the desired and advertised protection from SPF 100, you need proper application. Most people need to apply their sunscreen properly. Not applying sunscreen properly will not give you the desired protection. 

  • Diminishing returns: While SPF 100 sunscreen offers higher protection compared to lower SPF levels, the incremental increase in protection diminishes significantly. For example, SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 100 blocks roughly 99%. The marginal benefit may not justify the higher cost or thicker application required. 

  • Also Read: When to Apply Sunscreen


Well, it is a personal preference which SPF you should be using. Whatever you use, make sure it provides enough protection. According to dermatologists, sunscreen with SPF 50 and above is great for protecting your skin from UV damage.

Gold Rush Vitamin C sunscreen by Light Up Beauty has SPF 60 PA ++++ with Gold Standard Vitamin C and 1% Ceramide Complex, which not only protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays but the THD ascorbate, aka Gold Standard Vitamin C, also reduces pigmentation and dark spots.

Ultimately, the best sunscreen is one that aligns with your skin type, lifestyle, and sun exposure habits. Whether you opt for SPF 100 sunscreen or lower SPF options, consistent sun protection remains paramount in safeguarding your skin's health and vitality.