5 Sunscreen Myths Dermatologists Wish You’ll Stop Believing

BY Dermstore Editors · March 22, 2017

Mom-putting-sunscreen-on-daughter-2 | Dermstore Blog
Here’s something no one told you about: The majority of the UV damage you receive isn’t actually from beach vacations or afternoons spent outside gardening. It’s from seemingly innocent day-to-day activities like driving in a car during daylight hours. And that’s not all. Here, we give you five more sunscreen lies you’ve got to stop believing to save your skin from UV damage.

MYTH 1: Just about any sunscreen will do.

The sun protection factor (SPF) on the side of a sunscreen bottle indicates how well it can protect skin against UVB rays—the spectrum of the sun’s radiation responsible for causing your skin to burn. But there’s another range of radiation you’re exposed to while in the sun: UVA, the rays responsible for up to 90% of the skin’s aging signs! Only products that read “broad spectrum” on the label and offer an SPF of 15 or higher can claim to prevent sunburn along with skin cancer and early signs of skin aging

MYTH 2: You still get a “base tan.”

The idea of getting a preliminary, “healthy” tan to prevent burning in the future is a popular one that just won’t go away. And, unfortunately, it’s anything but a good idea. Anytime your skin develops a tan, that’s a sign of injury. Your skin is producing more melanin to protect itself against further damage to its DNA.

MYTH 3: The SPF in your foundation should be enough.

Unless you’re a clown, you’ll never apply enough foundation to reap the benefits of the SPF it contains. SkinCancer.org recommends using a nickel-size amount of sunscreen to keep your face adequately protected. That much foundation could cover a few faces, yet it still wouldn’t protect some of the most frequently exposed skin on your body, such as your hands, arms, chest, the tops of your ears and the back of your neck! Look for a sunscreen that also moisturizes and apply it as the last step in your morning skin care routine, right before your makeup.

MYTH 4: Higher SPF means you can spend more time outdoors.

No matter how high the SPF, the FDA recommends reapplying sunscreen every two hours for optimal protection. One ounce is advised for keeping your entire body protected—so in a given day spent at the beach, one person could use almost an entire bottle of SPF 30 sunscreen in order to stay properly protected from head to toe.

MYTH 5: You only have to apply sunscreen when you’re at the beach. 

Two-thirds of all sun damage is incidental. Time spent commuting, running errands and enjoying an outdoor brunch can add up to a lot of trouble for your skin. UVA rays can also penetrate glass, so even if you spend a lot of time in your car, you’re not completely protected. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen should be a daily habit. And when in doubt, follow this rule: If you don’t need a flashlight to see outside, you need sunscreen!

Do you know any other sunscreen facts other people may not be aware of? Help us spread the word on the comment section below.

Dermstore Editors

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