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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For years, there has been debate about whether using sunscreen over SPF 50 really makes a difference. Now a new study suggests you may want to go higher for better protection.

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A recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that SPF 100 was more protective than SPF 50.

“This was a real-use study, where people actually used it instead of testing it in a lab,” explained Dr. Darrell Rigel, one of the authors of the study. “Because people under-apply sunscreen, the higher SPF is more-forgiving. That’s really what the advantage was, for the average user, if they put on a little less or skimp or a little bit, they’re still getting strong protection.”

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Researchers compared SPF 50 versus 100 on skiers in Colorado.   The study found the SPF 50 side of the face was 11 times more likely to burn compared to the SPF 100 side. Dr. Rigel advises choosing a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher.

“You want to look for the words ‘broad spectrum’ because that means it protects ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays,” he explained. “You want something that’s water resistant – 80 minutes.  That’s the maximum of protection.”

Dermatologists also recommend re-applying sunscreen at least every two hours.

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Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. funded the study.