Taking Better Care Of Your Skin

5 Sunscreen Myths Busted

Sunscreen use is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun's negative and damaging effects without hiding away inside, but you're not fully protected if you aren't using your sunscreen correctly. Get the facts about common sunscreen myths to keep yourself safe and looking your best.

Myth #1: You should only use sunscreen after you have a base tan to protect yourself.

A tan of any level is a sign that your skin has already been damaged by the sun. When your skin cells are exposed to ultraviolet light, they produce more melanin, which gives your skin the darker hue and shows the cells have already been injured.

Myth #2: You shouldn't wear sunscreen every day because you need sun exposure for Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient, but you don't need to expose yourself to the sun without sunscreen to get enough. If you think your Vitamin D levels are low, talk to your doctor about going on a supplement. Most people get some sun exposure from missed spots when applying sunscreen as well.

Myth #3: You can apply sunscreen once a day and be protected.

Applying sunscreen every morning is a good way to start your day with sun protection, but it may not be enough to protect you all day. You should reapply your sunscreen for every two hours of sun exposure. In some cases, you may need to apply more often, as sweat, water, and sunlight can all break down the protective ingredients in sunscreens. 

Myth #4: You only need sunscreen on sunny days.

Some people think there isn't a need to apply sunscreen on cloudy days because they don't get tan or sunburned on cloudy days. Clouds don't block the UVA rays responsible for skin aging and skin cancer, however, so it's important to apply adequate SPF regardless of the weather. UVA rays also aren't blocked by many windows, so it's a good idea to apply sunscreen even when you'll be indoors all day.

Myth #5: A higher SPF gives more protection.

Sunscreens are advertised with an SPF number, but that number only measures the sunscreen's effectiveness against UVB rays — the ones that cause sunburns. An SPF of 30 is sufficient for most people. It's more important to apply your sunscreen thoroughly and reapply it often than it is to go for the highest SPF available. 

Look for sunscreens with ingredients that block UVA rays, such as avobenzone and zinc oxide, since SPF only measures the product's effectiveness against UVB.

Discuss sunscreen use with your dermatologist to find the best product for you to use consistently.

To learn more, contact a resource like Desert Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists