4 Sunscreen Myths Debunked

by Gio
4 sunscreen myths

How the heck are you supposed to use sunscreen right if everyone has a different opinion about it?!

Apply it before you go to the beach. No, you can slather it on once you get there.

Use it every day, even if you’re not going to the beach. No wait, you won’t get your vitamin D fix that way.

Argh! What’s a girl to do to avoid wrinkles, cancer and all the other crap the sun causes.

Worry not. I’ve got your back, my smart friend. Here are 4 common sunscreen myths debunked:

1. You Don’t Need To Wear Sunscreen If You Spend Most Of Your Day Indoors

It makes sense, does it? If the sun can’t get you inside, why bother with sunscreen?

Because the sun CAN get you inside my friend. And it WILL.

Here’s the deal. In the past, sunscreens only protected your skin from UVB rays. Those can’t penetrate glass, so if you were inside, you didn’t need to use sunscreen.

UVA rays are another matter entirely. These pesky rays CAN penetrate through glass so if you’re inside, especially if you live or work in a place with big windows, you’re not safe from them.

It doesn’t matter if you’re outside or inside, if you want to keep your skin safe from UV harm, you need to wear your sunscreen from the moment the sun comes up to the moment the sun comes down.

Related: Can UV Rays Penetrate Through Glass?

2. You Can Apply Sunscreen When You Get To The Beach

And what will keep your skin safe while you get there? Hope and prayers?

I’ve told ya, UVA rays can penetrate glass. That means car windows, too.

Besides, sunscreen should always be applied at least 20 minutes BEFORE you head out the door. That gives it time to form an even shield against UV rays.

Don’t fool yourself you’ll only be out for 5 minutes anyway. 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there build up to A LOT of damage!

Related: Why Do You Need To Apply Sunscreen 20 Minutes Before Leaving The House

Shop My Fave Sunscreens

3. If You Wear Sunscreen, You Won’t Get Enough Vitamin D

Sunscreen is a must. It keeps you safe from wrinkles, dark spots and cancer.

Vitamin D is a must, too. It prevents rickets, keeps your teeth and bone healthy and does plenty more good things for your body.

Few foods have vitamin D. But when you expose your skin to the sun, your body produces vitamin D in spades. Unless you wear sunscreen. That blocks UV rays and, as a result, vitamin D production.

BUT, not completely!

Even SPF 100 lets 1% of UV rays through (no, a sunscreen that blocks ALL UV rays hasn’t been invented, yet).

So, you can still wear sunscreen and get your vitamin D fix. Win win.

P.S. If you have a severe vitamin D deficiency, consult a doctor for supplements. The sun should always be your LAST resort for your vitamin D fix.

Related: Vitamin D: How To Get Your Dose Without Skipping Sunscreen

4. If You Have Dark Skin You Don’t Need Sunscreen

It’s true dark skin produces more melanin than fair skin. That makes it less likely to burn.

BUT, you can still burn. AND you’ll still get wrinkles and dark spots. AND you’re more likely to die from skin cancer than people with a fairer complexion.

You see, if you know you’re at risk, you wear sunscreen. But if you think you can do without, you’ll take more risks with the sun. You’ll also be less likely to go for regular screenings for cancer (why go if you think it can’t happen to you?). When you finally realise there’s something wrong, it may already be too late.

Don’t gamble with your life. Wear sunscreen every day.

Have you fallen for any of these sunscreen myths? Share your experience in the comments below.

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katie June 7, 2011 - 2:35 pm

Interesting post thanks!!

beautifulwithbrains June 7, 2011 - 4:56 pm

Katie, thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Jamilla Camel June 7, 2011 - 2:37 pm

AMEN! to all of the above! Well written post.

beautifulwithbrains June 7, 2011 - 4:53 pm

Jamilla, thank you! It’s so important to know how to use sunscreen properly and wear it daily.

Trisha June 7, 2011 - 7:06 pm

Yeah…I admit that I go some days without SPF if I know I’m not going to go outside.

I do live in a basement, though. Does that help? 😉

beautifulwithbrains June 7, 2011 - 8:00 pm

Trisha, as long as you don’t sit/stand for long periods near a window there shouldn’t be any problems.. 🙂

xin June 8, 2011 - 3:28 am

i think #1 is quite a common myth. however, i usually skip sunscreen application if i cleanse my face after 6pm

beautifulwithbrains June 8, 2011 - 8:19 am

Xin, yes, it’s a common myth unfortunately. people just don’t realize that the sun rays can penetrate through windows and still damage skin. If there’s not much life after 6pm and you’re not spending lots of time outdoors then that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I think it’s important to wear sunscreen daily, but there’s no need to become paranoid about it.

Jeni June 8, 2011 - 5:06 am

Another misconception is thinking sunscreen offers 100% protection from the sun. Even with the best SPF 50+ sunscreen, I can still end up getting burned/tanned after an hour or two – before it’s even time to reapply. I rarely go outside for an extended period of time because I’m so paranoid now:(

beautifulwithbrains June 8, 2011 - 8:22 am

Jeni, that’s too, no sunscreen offers 100& protection. Even those with SPF 50 can only protect up to 98-99% so some rays will still affect your skin and cause you tan and burn. But I think that if you wear a sunscreen with a SPF level you can still go out for longer periods of time as long as you avoid the hottest hours of the day. That’s whaT I do whenever I can anyway.

Makeup Morsels June 8, 2011 - 5:49 am

Good post 🙂 I have friends who only apply sunscreen when they go swimming or go to they beach, and then I also have friends who just apply sunscreen to their face but not the rest of their body. hehe everyone knows me as crazy sunscreen girl now…I keep trying to get my friends to wear their spf. The earlier you start the better you’ll age, plus you’ll be a lot less likely to get skin cancer! But at this point, no one listens to me lol

beautifulwithbrains June 8, 2011 - 8:28 am

Makeup, another fellow crazy sunscreen girl, my friends call me like that too. My friends are just like yours really, I tell them that they need to wear sunscreen every day not just when they go to the beach but they just refuse to listen and think I’m paranoid. I just tell them we’ll see who’s right in a few years’ time but it’s a shame they just won’t see how important it is to wear sunscreen until the damage is done. But what can we do? lol.

Ana June 11, 2011 - 11:04 pm

Could recommend some good face sunscreen for people with combination skin?
I wanted to wear sunscreen on my face for a long time, but… most of them are really oily even on my quite dry body skin… I can’t imagine what would happen if I put them on my face.

I know that Italy has a different product offer, but I figure you’re more likely to recommend something I might find than a UK or USA blogger (I tried Google, but it just churns out products available there, boohoo). And I’m going to Czech Republic from the end of June to mid-July, so I might find your recommendations even if I can’t find them here.

Price range… Uh, I must say that even Nivea is a bit pricey for me/around here. Feels rather silly, I must say :/ .

beautifulwithbrains June 12, 2011 - 11:02 am

Ana, it’s so difficult to find a good sunscreen that’s not greasy and at an affordable price too! Before I recommend anything, do you prefer physical blockers or chemical sunscreens are ok too? Or it just doesn’t matter to you as long as it works? Cos I know some people don’t like using chemical sunscreens so I thought I’d ask before recommending one. Also, if you don’t spend a lot of time outdoors, a moisturizer with SPF of at least 15 would do too.

Ana June 12, 2011 - 2:41 pm

Anything’s OK by me – I guess I’ll have some trouble getting my hands on either type, so recommend away 😀 .
Moisturizers with built-in sunscreen are really rare around here – we get the most basic products even from the lines that, in bigger marketplaces, have moisturizes with SPF / sunscreens for oily skin / insert-specific-product-of-choice-here (I was, for instance, interested in Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock). Bah.

In the end, I might go with children’s stuff, sensitive skin and all that, but it’s both rather small and rather expensive.

beautifulwithbrains June 12, 2011 - 8:00 pm

Ana, what a shame that you get so few products there. Do you get Olay Total Effects moisturizer? It’s one of my favourites and it contains SPF too. As for sunscreens, I’m currently using and liking La Roche Posay Anthelios Lotion SPF 20. Aveeno Continuous Protection Sun Block Lotion SPF 55 (there’s a baby version too) are Clinique Sun Advanced Protection SPF 45 Stick good and not too pricey options too. These are just a few that spring to mind from brands that shouldn’t be too difficult to find (hopefully). I hope it helps.

Ana June 16, 2011 - 5:33 pm

Of the mentioned products, we’ve only got the one by Clinique, but a big thank you anyway 🙂 .
But I found a couple of products that might be suitable, so I’ll be running them through your A-Z ingredients list and checking to find the non-aggravating one 😀 .

beautifulwithbrains June 16, 2011 - 7:52 pm

Ana, I’m glad you found some products that may be suitable for you. Hope they don’t contain any problematic ingredients. 🙂

Sprool January 9, 2012 - 3:17 pm

Re: “..the active sunscreen ingredients need that time to get activated through a chemical reaction that occurs when they get into contact with the skin.”
I don’t think this is correct, there is no chemical reaction that takes place, the oils simply start to absorb into the upper layer of the skin and the solid components (eg: zinc or titanium dioxide) should sit on the surface of the skin, scattering and blocking the UV radiation.

beautifulwithbrains January 9, 2012 - 6:41 pm

Sprool, thanks for your comment. I got my information from Dr Neal Shultz and his website DermTv, but I can’t find the exact post now. His info is usually very reliable although he didn’t describe in detail the chemical reaction that is needed to activate sunscreen ingredients but simply mentioned that one takes place. I will dig further and see what I can find out.

Ana January 9, 2012 - 8:50 pm

I remember that episode!

The thing is, both Sprool and you are right, but Sprool combined the chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients.
Zinc and titanium dioxide are physical blockers, so they can be put on and they work immediately, while chemical ingredients, carbon based, need time to react with the skin and need to be applied before anything else.

Why You Should Apply Sunscreen First [DermTV.com Epi #75]

beautifulwithbrains January 9, 2012 - 9:41 pm

Ana, thanks for the clarification and the link, it’s very appreciated it. 🙂

Nikolett Szolnoki October 24, 2017 - 6:46 pm

I wore sunscreen all summer, no sunbathing at all and my serum vitamin D level (just tested it) is far in the normal range! Okay, I also eat healthy but didn’t take any vit D supplement during the summer months 🙂 Great blog, love reading you!

Gio October 28, 2017 - 2:31 pm

Nikolett, that’s great news. Just goes to show that you sunscreen isn’t to blame for vitamin D deficiency.

Thanks, so glad you like it. 🙂


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