5 Common Sunscreen Myths You Need to Forget About
Applying sunscreen is a non-negotiable skincare step but some of us learned it the hard way. Some received sunburns while others were punished with those COVID tan lines (quite possibly the worst thing to happen to one’s face). And so, we were all taught that come rain or shine, sunscreen is something you can’t compromise on. However, there is a surprising number of common myths that still plague our sunscreen knowledge. Let’s debunk them before it’s too late.
Myth 1: Higher the SPF number, better the protection.
Photo by Arthur Pereira on Unsplash
How often have you found yourself reaching out for the sunscreen with the highest SPF and rudely ignore the rest? The reasoning behind this is always the same: higher SPF must give me better protection. Well, no. SPF translates to Sun Protection Factor and the number indicates the time for which that specific sunscreen can protect you against the UVB rays. For instance, if your skin usually starts getting red after 15 minutes, an SPF 30 sunscreen is likely to protect you for 15 minutes times 30.
Hence, a higher SPF doesn’t mean better protection; it only means protection for an extended period of time. But sunscreens with high SPF also contain a higher concentration of active ingredients that might end up doing your skin more bad than good (think itching or irritation).
Myth 2: Applying sunscreen just once is enough.
You can’t apply sunscreen just once and call it a day. The usual life of sunscreen on your skin is only about 2 hours since it breaks down from sun exposure. Even if you are not actively in the sun, it’s natural for sunscreen to fade away or degrade sooner than you think. Most dermatologists recommend reapplying after 2 hours. So, if you want to protect your skin against sun damage and premature aging, slather on that sunscreen multiples times a day.
Myth 3: Sun damage is possible only on sunny days.
This has to be the most common myth even among skincare lovers and end up being the reason for premature ageing. But the important thing to remember is that it’s the Ultraviolet Radiations that are responsible for sun damage and skin ageing, and not the temperature. UV radiations are still present on cloudy or windy days. Some penetrate the clouds and some reflect off them. So, even on pleasant days, don’t forget your sunscreen.
Myth 4: People with dark skin don’t need sunscreen
Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup on Unsplash
If you normally don’t get any visible sunburns, you might be compelled to falsely believe that you don’t need sunscreen. UV radiations don’t discriminate. They penetrate all skin types and all skin colors damaging cells and causing skin ageing. No matter the color of your skin, you need to use sunscreen for proper protection.
Myth 5: Deficiency of Vitamin D means you need more sun.
Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash
Getting a nice tan doesn’t equate to adequate levels of Vitamin D. For Vitamin D, exposure to direct sunlight is recommended, sure. But no longer than 10 to 15 minutes and merely two to three times each week. Your face, arms, legs, and back will absorb sufficient Vitamin D within the stipulated time, and you can go about your merry day. It is pertinent to remember that too much exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer and can even prematurely age your skin. So always remember to liberally lather yourself up in sunscreen every time you leave the house. For sufficient Vitamin D, you can also turn to diet and supplements.
Even if you have been doing something wrong, there’s no better day than today to stop believing in these myths and start protecting your skin.