I could write an entire encyclopaedia about sunscreen myths. There are that many, yes. And they all have one thing in common: they’re super dangerous.
Sunscreen isn’t just another skincare product. You get it wrong, it may give you a pimple at worst. Sunscreen is medicine for your skin. Use it the wrong way and you’ll look 10 years older. Or worse, get cancer.
That’s why you need to get to know this fella well. And that means debunking some common myths about it. Here’s the harsh truth instead:
1. All sunscreens protect from UVA AND UVB rays
You’d think this would be a given. The truth is quite different, my smart friend. SPF, or sun protection factor, only measures sunscreen protection from UVB rays. If it blocks 97% of UVB rays, it can be labelled SPF30 even if it offers no protection at all from UVA rays! And that’s not nearly good enough.
If you want adequate protection, look for “broad spectrum” on the label. If you buy Asian sunscreens, the amount of + signs next to the PA letters will tell you how good its UVA protection is. Or you can check the labels. if it has zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone or mexoryl, it passes the test.
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2. Layering sunscreens adds SPF
I wish! Wouldn’t it be great if you could use a moisturizer with SPF15, a sunscreen with SPF50 and a foundation with SPF20 and get an SPF of 85?
Sadly, it doesn’t work out that way. Adding more products with SPF doesn’t increase sun protection. You still only get the protection the highest SPF you’ve applied gives you. In this case, 50.
Related: Sunscreen Math: Can You Add SPF?
3. I can’t get a tan if I use a high SPF sunscreen
First of all, you shouldn’t get a tan anyway. A tan is a sign of sun damage. Period.
Besides, you’ll tan even with sunscreen. The sad truth is that no sunscreen blocks 99% of UV rays. SPF30 blocks only 97% and SPF100 around 99%. And that if you apply the required amount (around a glass shot for the whole body) and reapply it every two hours.
You’ll still get a tan even if you wear sunscreen. You’ll just develop it way more slowly (and prevent most of the damage it always brings).
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4. Your old sunscreen bottle is still effective
By old I mean more than one year old. You know last year’s half used bottle you’ve kept for the upcoming summer. It won’t do.
Sunscreens start losing effectiveness after one year. Even sooner than that if you’ve kept them under or near the heat (like in your car). Don’t risk it.The truth about sunscreen: six sunscreen myths debunked!
5. It’s enough to apply sunscreen once a day
Again, I wish! Reapplication is a pain! It’s also a necessary evil.
UV filters get deactivated by sunlight. The longer they’re exposed to UV rays, the sooner they go bad. Plus, sunscreen is brushed off the skin when you swim, sweat, dry yourself off with a towel…
Half of the sunscreen you’ve put on half an hour ago has already gone. Do your skin a favour and reapply it often.
6. You don’t need sunscreen if it’s cloudy.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but those UV rays are sneaky jerks. They easily penetrate even through the darkest of clouds and hit your face, causing all sorts of damage.
Just because you can’t see the sun, it doesn’t mean it’s not hurting you.
Do you know of any other sunscreen myths that needs debunking once and for all?
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