The sun is the greatest threat to our skin’s health and youth.
While time causes chronological aging, the sun causes “photo-aging” which attributes to sunspots, collagen loss, and uneven skin texture. There are two types of ultraviolet light, Ultraviolet B rays, and Ultraviolet A rays; both increase your chance of sun damage and skin cancer. UVB rays typically cause sunburn and UVA rays, with their longer wavelength, penetrate deeper into the skin and are responsible for much of the damage associated with photo-aging. Below we have helped clear up a few of the most common sunscreen myths and gathered tips on how to better protect your skin.
No.1 “I can skip it.”
The answer is always NO. Sunscreen is not just for those who spend all their time in the sun. There are six skin types everyone falls into according to the FDA and the American Academy of Dermatology. And yes, you guessed it, there is no such thing as a skin type that doesn’t need to protect their skin.
Type 1: You burn easily, never tan, and have red hair and freckles.
Type 2: You burn easily but can get a minimal tan. You have fair skin and hair, and blue eyes.
Type 3: You sometimes burn but can get a light tan. You are dark-haired and probably Caucasian or Asian.
Type 4: You burn minimally and tan to a moderate brown. You are probably Caucasian of Mediterranean descent, or of African, Asian, Hispanic, Indian or Middle Eastern ancestry.
Type 5: You rarely burn, and you tan well. You are probably of Middle Eastern, Asian, Hispanic, Indian or African descent.
Type 6: You never burn. You are probably of African descent, with deep skin pigmentation.
No.2 “I don’t need to wear sunscreen when it’s cloudy outside.”
There is no such thing as a sunless day. Even though we may not see the sun on a cloudy day that does not mean it’s not there. Those Ultraviolet A rays we mentioned are powerful enough to reach through the clouds as well as smog and glass to work their damage!
No.3 “I don’t need to reapply throughout the day.”
Sunscreen goes away with time and should be reapplied every two to four hours depending on how long you are out in the sun. “My moisturizer and my makeup have sunscreen so I don’t need to apply more” is another common statement when it comes to sunscreen myths. It’s wonderful that many companies understand how important sun protection is and are incorporating SPF into their products but this does not mean you don’t need to reapply SPF as the day goes on. Luckily sunblock comes in many different forms such as lotions, sprays, and sticks. Spray sunscreen is a great way to reapply on top of your makeup without messing up your look!
EXPERT TIP – Don’t be stingy!
Make sure you are applying enough sunscreen. Many doctors suggest filling a shot glass or something similar in size with sunblock. This should be enough to cover your entire body and ensures you are getting the proper protection.
No.4 “I only need to put sunscreen on my face.”
Where should you put sunscreen? Answer: Everywhere the sun touches! The backs of the hands tend to be overlooked the most when it comes to applying SPF and are a dead giveaway for years of unprotected sun exposure. Other commonly missed areas are the ears, back of the neck, scalp, and lips. Protecting your face is a great step towards preventing sun damage and skin cancer but skipping the rest of your body still leaves you vulnerable.
No.5 “I need the sun to get enough Vitamin D.”
False. Your body actually needs a lot less time in the sun to reach adequate levels of Vitamin D than you might think. After about 15 minutes of sun exposure, even with sunscreen on, the body’s system overloads and stops producing Vitamin D. People often think being tan is an indicator of healthy levels of Vitamin D. In all actuality many individuals with tanned skin are surprisingly still Vitamin D deficient! The best and most healthy way for your body to get enough Vitamin D is from a proper diet, natural supplements, and limited sun exposure.
No.6 “All sunscreens are the same.”
Not all sunscreens are created equal and some may even have dangerous side effects. Some SPF products include harmful chemicals that can lead to more damage than just a sunburn. For baby’s and children, it is best to keep them out of the sun or cover them up with protective clothing when spending time outside. Their skin is extremely sensitive and certain products, especially “chemical” sunscreens, can have the reverse effect and may cause chemical burns. It is very important to read the ingredients list and be aware of exactly what you are getting in your sunblock. There are generally two types of sunscreens to choose from, “chemical” and “mineral”. Chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin and may disrupt your hormone system. They often contain a certain type of Vitamin A which can actually increase the development of skin tumors and lesions. Mineral sunscreens are made with the active ingredients of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These nanoparticles fully absorb into the skin and create a protective barrier against the sun’s harsh rays. Even though mineral sunscreens are said to cause less irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin, it’s still important to do a test patch before applying to your entire face and body.
What The Experts Suggest
There is no perfect sunscreen out there. The most effective and sure way to protect your skin is to stay out of the sun or wear protective clothing. We know this is not always possible so be mindful of the sunscreen you are purchasing and make sure to protect your skin EVERY DAY!
Stay Smart, Stay Green, and Stay Beautiful Out There!