I have already talked about a few sunscreen myths here, here and here but there seem to be so many misconceptions about this essential product that I thought it was important to set the record straight on a few more. After all, not knowing enough about sunscreen and when to apply them, can cause a lot of harm to our skin. So, let’s get started:
1. I already have a “base tan” so I don’t need to wear sunscreen
First of all, there is no such thing as a healthy tan. A tan, whether you got it from sun exposure or a tanning bed, is a sign that your skin is damaged and it is absolutely not a substitute for sunscreen. While it is true that a tan may give your skin a tiny little bit more protection from burning, your skin can still burn. And in any case, that won’t protect you from all the damage (like premature aging and cancer) the sun can do to your skin. So, always, always, wear sunscreen, even if you already have a tan.
2. If I stay in the shade, sunscreen is not necessary
Again, this is false. Although you should always seek the shade whenever possible (or wear a hat or even use an umbrella), you still need to wear sunscreen. That’s because shades don’t completely block all the sun rays, leaving your skin exposed to damage if not properly protected.
3. SPF 30 is twice as strong as SPF 15
I wish! While I think it is very important to wear a high protection factor every day, especially when you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, the truth is, that there really isn’t that much difference between SPF 15 and SPF 30. A sunscreen with SPF 15 can block out about 93% of the sun rays while one with SPF 30 about 97%. Higher factors can block out about 98% or 99%, but the assumption that the protection provided is proportionally increased by higher SPF factors is wrong. And most expert think that SPF 15 is enough for daily wear, although I personally think that if you’re going to the beach or spending a lot of time outdoors, it’s best to use at least SPF 30.
4. Sunscreens block out all UV rays
Again all I can say is, I wish! The truth is that no sunscreen, not even those labelled SPF 100, can completely block out all UV rays. Some can block out 97% or 98%, like we’ve seen above, but there always is a small percentage of rays that won’t be blocked out. In addition, there are lots of sunscreens on the market that protect only from UVB and not UVA rays. These offer only partial protection and should be avoided so be sure to check the label carefully before purchasing.
Do you know any other sunscreen myths you’d like to bust?