As a nation, we’ve become increasingly more aware of the importance of protecting our skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Not only are you putting yourself at a high risk of developing skin cancer, but exposure to both UVA and UVB also accounts for 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging.
But how informed are you? It’s time to quash the most common sun protection myths to practice sun safety all year long.
FALSE. Everybody, regardless of race, ethnic origins and skin type is subject to the damaging effects of exposure to the sun. Even those who tan easily and rarely burn should use sunscreen as a suntan is a sign of skin damage, just like a sunburn.
SPF measures how much protection a sunscreen offers
FALSE. While SPF does stand for sun protection factor, it’s only a measure of the sunscreen’s level of protection against UVB rays, which typically cause sunburn. However, it does not take into consideration whether the sunscreen protects against UVA rays which penetrate deep into the skin and cause premature ageing. Look for sunscreen labeled Broad-Spectrum and contains ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide for UVA protection.
If it’s cold or cloudy outside, you don’t need sunscreen.
FALSE. According to the FDA, “Even on an overcast day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can get through the clouds.” This misconception often leads to the most serious sunburns. Since UV rays can be reflected off of water, sand, snow, and concrete, you can get a sunburn in the shade or when skiing on a cold, winter day.
Once applied, I am protected for the day.
FALSE. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreen should also be reapplied after swimming, excessive sweating, or towelling. However it is important to note that you should not rely solely on sunscreen to protect your skin against UV rays; it is just one vital part of a complete sun protection program. Skin care experts recommend using a combination of sun protection that include seeking shade, using sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, a hat, and clothing that protects exposed skin.
Wearing a t-shirt in the sun will protect you from burning
FALSE. While clothing provides some protection, a standard white t-shirt only has an SPF of about 7. If it’s wet, the SPF can go down as low as 3. The darker and thicker the clothing, the more protection it provides.
Its Ok to use last years sun screen bottle
FALSE. After a certain period of time sunscreen breaks down and becomes far less effective, and is unlikely to hold true to its SPF rating at the time. It’s best to store a sunscreen at room temperature and avoid exposure to extreme heat as this can cause the product to break down more easily.