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The Best SPF Face Creams for Every Skin Type

SPF 30: The Only Number You Really Need

Many face creams offer SPF 15, but the American Academy of Dermatology recommends double that. SPF 30 provides 97 percent protection against UVB—the rays that make you burn—while SPF 50 provides a single percent more. For the extra-cautious, SPF 50+ is the biggest number out there; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently decided any bottle claiming a higher rating misleads consumers.

Never Use a Spray Again

Aerosol sunscreen was born in the new millennium and quickly became the preferred block of lazy teenage girls, moms chasing sandy toddlers, and men who can’t stretch to reach their shins. But it doesn’t take a bright red streak across your forehead to know that spraying isn’t exactly precise—it’s impossible to see whether microparticles of SPF land on your skin. Most fill the air or your own lungs, which is a waste of product and potentially harmful, per an FDA review currently under way. (Also scary: In 2012 a man went up in flames after using a Banana Boat spray and wandering near a barbecue.) Spray is awful for the environment, at least compared with lotions that come in longer-lasting bottles and rub in pretty easily. You can even ask someone to help. Just not a colleague.

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