StyleWatch Editors Want to Know: What's Your SPF?

04/25/2007 at 01:00 PM ET

As summer approaches, our thoughts turn to picnics, long days at the beach, road trips — and wearing the right SPF.  From our tinted moisturizer to the heavy duty creams that come out for full days soaking up rays, we have a whole range of SPF products shoved into our bulging bathroom shelves.  With sunny months ahead, we want to know what SPF you’re wearing (and hopefully reapplying like Penelope Cruz does!). Tell us: What SPF do you wear during the summer? Do you switch around depending on your activities and expected sun exposure? 

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FILED UNDER: Beauty , Penelope Cruz
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Showing 57 comments

Sarah O. on

I’m obsessive about always wearing sunscreen. Daily I wear Clinique CityBlock SPF 40 on my face, under my makeup. When I’m going to be outside for extended periods of time, I wear SPF 45, usually from Neutrogena or Aveeno, in a sheer, waterproof variety. I plan to be wrinkle-free when I get old! (Sarah O., 22, Little Rock, Arkansas)

Melissa on

Melissa, 28, Houston TX

I use SPF 15 moisturizer every day, but when I go out to the beach or pool in the summer, I switch to 30 on my face and 45 on my body. Hate burning!

Heather S. on

I tan easily and have olive skin, but I still wear 25-30 on my face, even if I’m skipping the spf elsewhere (although I usually wear something all over as well). I’ve seen how years of tanning have aged my mom, and that’s a road I don’t want to go down!

Alex on

I live year-round in the Hamptons, soo I spend a lot of my time in the summer sun. I use 30 on my face/chest, and 15 everywhere else, and I a few times a day when I’m at the beach. Then again, I’m German/Polish, so I’m on the paler side. I also go away every winter to somewhere tropical, usually Caribbean or Mexico, and then I put 30 everywhere and re-apply coonstaantly, and take intervals under an umbrella.

Super-dark tans are totally tacky, and skin cancer’s never in! I like to stick with my well-toned, not too dark not too light look, live some extra years and not have to worry about extensive wrinkling later in life. It’s all about balance!

Rachel on

I wear an SPF 15 moisturizer everyday. If I’m going to be out in whe sun for a while at the beach or the pool, I go with SPF 45 – or higher, if I can find it. I’m really pale and start to burn after 15 minutes in strong sun, so I need the highest SPF I can find. (Rachel, 20, College Park, MD)

FH on

Just an fyi…many companies boast products that claim to have an spf of ’45, 50 or more’ to encourage customers to purchase it, thinking they are receiving more protection. Any dermatologist will tell you though that 30 is really the highest level of effectiveness you can achieve. Anything after that is just advertising fluff.

Summy on

I have always used Avon’s SSS spf 30 every time I know I’m going to be outside for any amount of time.
I went to a dermatologists for the first time and he couldn’t believe that I was 30 years old. I realized it really does pay to protect your skin from the sun!!

Colette on

I use Nuetrogena helioplex SPF 45 for my face, neck, and chest. I have very acne-prone skin and it doesn’t make me break out. On my body I wear Banana Boat SPF 55. These products combined with staying in the shade keep my skin porcelian.

Katie on

Daily I use and SPF 15 tinted moisterizer on my face and on moy body lotion with SPF 15 in it, but only if I’m not really going to be outside much. If I’m going outside I use SPF 45 and reapply every couple hours. I love my skin and I want it to look good when I look older. I see these girls that go to tanning salons and it disgusts me. They’re ruining their skin.

Crystal Beach girl on

I just started using anti-aging vitamin complex cream w/ uva/uvb spf 15 protection. I love the way my skin feels. I’ve never used anything like this b4. It is great stuff. fyi: look at the lable of your face cream. If it just says mosturizer, it does not fight aging. I always thought all of the products out there did but I finally asked a cosmetician last week and she said otherwise. I’m so glad I asked. She suggested what I’m now using. She also said that a lot of the knock off brands are just as good as the exspensive brands. The only diff is the smell. Just thought I’d mention it.

Lorna on

I have very fair skin, so I usually wear at least a 45 or 50 SPF when I’m going to be outside for a while. My moisturizer has 15 SPF. I noticed someone commented above that anything over a 30 SPF isn’t effective, but I used a 30 over the weekend because I couldn’t find my 45 SPF, and ended up with a sunburn. That never happens to me with the higher SPFs.

Jen S on

In the summer, I wear Shiseido’s Sunblock with SPF 55. It’s light and non-greasy. I can wear it underneath my makeup.

Mary K. on

I am extremely fair. I never tan, only freckle, and it seems like I burn the instant I step into the sun. I wear SPF 45 moisturizer on my face every day. I also wear SPF 45 on my body every day. When at the beach, pool or when exercising, I switch to sweat/water-proof SPF 50 and reapply every 2 hours.

lexi on

i am very fair, and have tried many different moisturizers with sunblock in them over the years, but they always seem to make my skin look greasy by mid day. i have “combination” skin (oiliness in the t-zone), but am normal to dry every where else. any recommendations, anyone???

also, i have heard for years that anything over 30 spf is just companies trying to make an extra buck, too.

just make sure your sunblock says BROAD SPECTRUM.

Brandy on


yvonne franceschi on

Since I’ve been living for a quite a while here in sunny
old San Juan, I really have to protect my self out of the
sun, usually I use Solbar PF 50, since I’m a very fair skin
I also use white cotton shirts with long sleeves, hat and sunglasses this is because
the dermotlogist as removed from my neck and chest sample
skin test which they turned out to be skin cancer. Since
the most dangerous time of the day is between 10:00 A:M to 2:00 P.M. I avoid to be out in the sun. So imagine living
near the beaches and canĀ“t enjoy myself having fun in the sun.

Ash on

Lexi, I am in the same boat as you- fair, combo skin, etc. I have been using Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunblock gel in SPF 30. Gels usually work better on people with oilier skin. Good luck!


I always wera 30 on my face, drop it down to 15 on my chest, arms and back, and then down to 8 on my legs! Quirky, but it works!

Lucy on

Lucy R. San Diego, CA

I’m from England so I’m not used to the sun! But when I go outside its 30 for my face and 45 for the rest everyday! No burning for me thanks!!!!!

Sarah on

I am a cancer survivor of Malignant Melanoma. I can’t stress to all of you enough how terrible cancer is and how important being safe in the sun is to your long term health. Best wishes!

Amber on

I always wear SPF 45-55 when out on the beach and at least sPF 15 during the day normally. I’m very fair skinned with freckles and have had one too many sunburns in my lifetime. Also, I don’t buy into the SPF 30 is the max sun protection factor because if it that was true no company would spend the time or money to manufacture those products. For me, the higher the SPF, the better!

Mary on

I’m guessing that I am the only person responding who never wears sunscreen. I am simply allergic to the main ingredients of sunscreen. Luckily, being Southeast Asian, I have darker skin so it is hard for me to burn (only happened once in my entire lifetime).

AnnieM on

15 at least!

Jennifer on

I wear sunblock not sunscreen, and I use my 3 year old’s SPF55 Aveeno Baby which actually leaves a white protective layer. I can get brown from a bottle with ten minutes and ten dollars now at 29, but I won’t be able to get young skin that easily when I’m 50. And it’s not just about the wrinkles, I don’t go brown at any SPF, only red, so it’s better to just avoid the sun altogether. That’s why I live in Chicago!

FH on

Amber, the point is that the company will put 45 or more on the label, but the actual ingredients are no more effective than a 30, which what I was told by a dermatologist is the really the highest level of effectiveness you can get from any sunblock. It can say SPF 250, but its still SPF 30.

The ‘broad spectrum’ thing is true. Meaning it blocks UVA and UVB rays. That is something you want to make sure you purchase. For the girl who claimed she burned on a 30 but doesn’t on a 45, it may be that the 45 was broad spectrum and the 30 wasn’t, or she didn’t apply it often enough.

jackie o. on

Jackie O., 23, Buffalo NY

I try to use 45 on my face, chest, and hands (places that will show age signs the most) and 15 or 30 everywhere else. Although, being from Buffalo, there’s not much time spent out in the sun…

And to Sarah, congratulations, that’s a tough one to beat. Best wishes to you as well!

DesperateHousewivesFan on

Ummmm 15, or 5. I love getting tans.

Ava on

I’m a pale redhead so sunscreen is a must! SPF 30 at minimun but I prefer SPF 45 for strong sun when I’m on vacation. Neutrogena makes a great spray on sunscreen but Coppertone is best for sports and activities, even on my face!

leslie on

Why does Penelope have a wedgie? No thong bathing suits around?

Melissa K. on

Melissa K., 27, Seattle WA

I have very fair skin with freckles, therefore I wear a high SPF sunblock. The product that I love to use is Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock in SPF 45. It protects broad spectrum uva-uvb rays, and the best thing about it is that you just spray it on until it is visable on your skin and then you are done! It dries quick and you don’t have to rub it in and get your hands greasy. They also make it in SPF 30 for those that don’t prefer the higher SPF.

Kelly in Canada on

I tan really easily, but also have quite a few moles so I try to just cover up (you should see my hat collection). I like coppertone 45spf non-oily stuff–good for the face too!
To the comment about being allergic; at health food stores you can find that zinc sunblock. It is thick, but works!

Tiffy on

I use regular Coppertone SPF 15 (not the oil-free)

I have dry facial skin and live in Eastern Canada, and believe it or not, I use it as a facial moisturizer during winter ; It works great ! (maybe because of the Jojoba oil)

NouF on

SPF 15 Neutrogena, daily!

vozbelle on

I wear SPF15 moisturizer every day, SPF 15 lotion for my body. My makeup also contains SPF15. If I am going to be out in the sun for extended periods I use SPF 30. Neutrogena Dry Sheer SPF30 and the Neutrogena Cool Mist Spray for body. Not exposed to a lot of sun on daily basis but the 30 min sun from my commute could just be enough to damage. I don’t want to look back in my thirties hoping I had taken better care of my skin. Wear some bronzer, complementing clothing colors to accentuate your skin tone and let all your friends be wrinkled and damaged!
Michelle D., 24, Maryland

Mary on

I’m very fair and burn easily, so I don’t leave the house without SPF 60 on my face and 50 on the rest. I still manage a few good burns a year, though!

Ashley on

I learn something new every time I visit this site! I really had no idea about nothing being over spf 30 – thanks ladies! I had been wearing Banana Boat spf 45 on my face, and 15 everywhere else (and reapplying often, especially if I went swimming, or just sweated a lot). I really love being in the sun, it even helps me sleep better. Have a safe, fun summer everyone!!

Kari Ann on

I get the highest I can (usually 45-70). I carry a small bottle of the sunscreen in my purse wherever I go; I even slather it on my arms when I’m driving so I don’t get a “driver’s tan”! I have very fair skin (almost goth-y pale) and try to keep it that way. I’m also a fan of sunglasses and hats to keep the sun off my face.
-Kari Ann M., Lexington, KY

KC on

I am lucky and got my dad’s olive skin. I tan very easily, and I hardly ever burn. I use SPF 4 on my body and 30 on my face, just to stop the slight redness I get on my nose and cheeks when I am out in the sun! My mom is very fair, she has red hair, and never tans, always burns, and she uses Ocean Potion SPF 30, and it works really well for her. She doesn’t burn if she reapplies it enough. We have a boat, so we are out in the sun every weekend during the summer, and since she started using Ocean Potion, she has hardly ever burned! Just a tip!

laura on

I always use 45…I burn so bad!

But what I am wondering is why Penelope has her bathing suit tucked into her butt crack?!

Sophia on

I am 29,pale with light brown hair and I live in Greece.This winter was so warm and sunny that gave me some new freckles and summer is not just here yet!My SPF15 day cream is not enough any more during winter.I have already switched to 30 for facial and I will reach to 45-60 for face and body during summer.

Amiee on

Living in Southern California my skin is always in the sun. For a daily routine I use a foundation powder make up from Stila that has an SPF 15 in it, and for those out going weekends either at the beach or at the river I use Ocean potion in 15 or 30 just depending, the lotion smells great and I still get a nice golden glow. And for my face I use Coppertone sunscreen for face in 30, I never get burned when I use it and it keeps my face from dying out from sun exposure.

liz on

Clinique city block SPF40 everyday, even if it’s cloudy.

kitty on

I use 30 – I don’t really burn easily, but I don’t want skin cancer later on in life either.

Word of advice to all these young girls getting ready for prom, etc. – STOP GOING TO THE TANNING BED! It’s terrible for you – I promise, you’ll regret it!! Use a sunless tanner or something. It works, without the harmful rays!

Lauren Capoccitti on

I wear Hawaiian Tropic’s Baby Faces, which is 60 SPF year round. I hate getting any sort of tan and want to stay as pale as possible. not to mention all the health benefits from staying my natural tone, it looks so much more attractive and healthy!

kitty on

LOL! Laura, I can’t believe no one said anything about it until you did – I was wondering about the cheekage to! Ha!


SPF is in. You should show celebrities using it more often. Maybe the “trend” would catch on….

Berly on

Coppertone Sport Spray works best for me. You don’t have to rub it in or anything! Just spray, and go! The spray even works in the water.

Berly M.
Age: 12

Berly on

Coppertone Sport Spray works best for me. You don’t have to rub it in or anything! Just spray, and go! The spray even works in the water. By the way, any sunblock over 45 doesn’t work that well. 30 or lower is best. Like 15, 25, and so on. It’s just recommended.

Berly M.
Age: 12

leslie on

Hey Kitty,
I said something before Laura! Check out my wedgie inquiry!!

Laura N., St Louis, MO on

I’m a very fair skinned Irish girl, relocated to the states, and was not prepared for the glaring Missouri sun in the summers.

I use Coppertone sunscreen, SPF 30, Broad Spectrum. What everyone else has said about broad spectrum is 100% true–you have to protect yourself against both UVA and UVB rays.

Sue on

Striped socks!

Heidi on

As a lifeguard who works 10 hours a day in direct sunlight in the summer I use Avene 30SPF Lotion for sensitive skin.
Everything else irritates my skin and Avene retains its SPF after 40 minutes of activity in the water.
I never get sun-burns with Avene and the thick lotion is easy to apply and blends well.
After finding Avene I will never use another!

kitty on

Leslie…hee hee hee! You crack me up! I’ve never seen anyone give themselves a wedgie on purpose! LOL! :p

jess on

i am fair skinned and i can’t find anything to help me. i just got burned really bad and i need help! its horrible to not be able to go swimming with my friends because i am afraid to get burned really bad again please help!!!!!!!

my email is please!!!!!!!!!!!

Logan Baker on

Jojoba oil is really great for acne because it helps balance facial oil.’-*

Diabetic Neuropathy : on

jojoba oil is both good for acne and also for eczema’-*

Leather Wristbands on

i heard that jojoba oil is also very good against acne, i would like to try it on my acne ;..

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