5 MYTHS ABOUT SUN CARE
Posted on 14 May 2018
Ask any beauty guru, skincare expert, doctor, and even mom, and they’ll all agree: One of the best things you can do for glowing, youthful, healthy skin is to wear sun protection. What isn’t common knowledge, however, is what kind, how much, when, and where to apply sunscreen to truly protect your body from harm. Here are 5 common misconceptions about sun care that will help you find the right method of protection.
Sunscreen is the best form of sun protection.
Actually, sunscreen should be your last line of defense against the sun. Baring your skin to the elements can result in a slew of unwanted effects: dryness, sunspots, sunburns, inflammation, premature aging, and more. The best protection is a physical barrier: limit your time in direct sun rays by finding shade, wearing light and airy long sleeves and pants, or accessorizing with a hat or scarf to expose as little of your skin to the sunlight as possible. You should also protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. Sunscreen or sunblock should be used in conjunction with these physical barriers as an additional defense.
The higher the SPF, the better it works.
According to the EWG, "Sunbathers often assume that they get twice as much protection from SPF 100 sunscreen as from SPF 50. In reality, the extra protection is negligible. Properly applied SPF 50 sunscreen blocks 98 percent of UVB rays; SPF 100 blocks 99 percent. When used correctly, sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer adequate sunburn protection, even for people most sensitive to sunburn."*
The higher SPF usually contains a higher amount of sunblocking chemicals that can do more harm for that "negligible" 1% extra protection.
And lastly, consider user error: most of us think were solid if we've applied SPF 75 before spending the day at the pool. In reality, reapplication is necessary no matter what, whether we applied SPF 15 or SPF 50, got in the water or not. A higher SPF gives a false sense of security, encouraging more time in the sun without protection.
Dermatologists recommend an SPF between 30 and 50 will do the trick if used properly: spread evenly all over the body, and reapplied every 2 hours or so.
All sunscreens are created equal.
Not all sunscreens are created equal. The first thing to consider is the ingredients list. Many sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that while protecting from UV rays, can cause other harm. Always check the ingredients list of your sunscreen through EWG or the Environmental Working Group. For example, a common sunscreen ingredient is oxybenzone - a toxin that is not only a known carcinogen and hormone disrupter, but also causes significant damage to coral reefs, and has been outlawed by several countries.**
Facial Sunscreen VS Sunscreen for Body
The difference between the two is simple: facial sunscreens are designed to be more easily absorbed and feel lighter, though their effectiveness is comparable. If you're looking to prevent breakouts or have especially acne-prone skin, avoid using standard sunscreen on your face, however, the two can be easily swapped in a pinch!
Sunscreen VS Sunblock
Sunblock refers to formulas containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide - a thick, often white nano-particle that provides a physical barrier against the sun, and can, therefore, protect to some extent against both UVA and UVB sun rays. The white residue left on the skin is not harmful and is, in fact, an indicator of correctly-applied mineral sunscreen.
Lotion VS Spray VS Roll-On
Reach for the lotion whenever possible, as sprays and roll-ons don't distribute evenly on the skin.
The more tan you are, the less protection you need.
Deeper skin needs just as much protection as fairer skin, tanned or not. Just because deeper skin burns less does not mean it is not prone to other forms of sun damage.
Not getting sun-burned means you’ve suffered no sun damage.
This is simply not true. You can suffer the wear of sun damage without ever getting burned. A sunburn occurs after your skin has already been exposed far too long, whilst sun damage can take the form of sunspots, dryness, or even have no symptoms at all! To really protect your skin, shade it from the sun’s rays by limiting your exposure at peak hours of the day, wearing long, light layers, and applying a mineral sunscreen to your face and body.