7 Common Myths About Sunscreen
2nd May 2023
You know all about sunscreen... right?
Maybe your grandma told you that you only need to wear it when you're at the beach, or a friend said that higher SPF means longer sun protection.
Since May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, we think it's a great time to set the record straight and learn the truth about sunscreen.
In this blog post, we'll debunk 7 of the most popular myths about sunscreen and explain why it's crucial to wear sunscreen everyday whenever you go outside (yes, even on cloudy days).
By the end of this post, you'll have a better understanding of the truth about sunscreen, and you'll be armed with the knowledge of how to protect you and your family from the sun damage and skin cancer.
So, whether you're heading out for your lifeguard shift or just going to lounge on the patio, make sure you read this post first and protect your skin the right way!
Myth #1: You don't need sunscreen on overcast days.
The Truth: Cloudy weather doesn't stop UV (ultraviolet) rays from reaching your skin, so sunscreen is necessary even on overcast days.
Yes, you heard that right!
We all know that sunscreen is a must-have during the hot summer months when the sun is shining. But the truth is that it's equally important to wear sunblock on cloudy days.
While clouds can block a very small amount of UV, the majority of UV radiation still penetrates through clouds and can reach the earth's surface (and you).
So just because it's a little cool and cloudy out, doesn't mean you can skip out on the 'screen.
Myth #2: You only need to wear sunscreen at the beach.
The Truth: Ultraviolet rays can reach your skin anytime and anywhere you're exposed to the sun.
UV rays come from the sun, and so they're present all year round. Unfortunately this also means they can sneak up on you when you least expect it.
From biking to work or grabbing brunch with friends, to running errands or playing with your dog in the park, any time you're outdoors during the day, you're exposing yourself to UV rays.
It can be easy to forget to apply sunblock when you're just going out for a quick bike ride or lounging on your backyard hammock. So make the smart choice and start making sunscreen part of your daily routine.
Myth #3: "Water/sweat-proof" sunscreens don't need to be re-applied.
The Truth: There is no such thing as completely water-proof or sweat-proof sunscreen.
This myth is a very common one, and unfortunately it leads to a lot of misunderstandings.
When it comes to choosing a sunscreen, you'll often see claims that certain products or ingredients are "water-proof" or "sweat-proof."
But despite what the labels may suggest, even the most water-resistant sunscreens begin to break down after prolonged exposure to water or sweat. Not to mention how much of it rubs off on your towels, clothes, and swimwear throughout the day!
So, if you want to keep yourself protected from harmful UV rays while, you need to reapply your sunblock every 2 hours, and especially after swimming or sweating.
Myth #4: Sunscreen is only necessary for people with fair skin.
The Truth: All skin tones and types are at risk for skin damage from UV rays.
Now you might be thinking "But my skin doesn't burn easily, so why do I need it?" Well, let us tell you that sunscreen is not just for preventing sunburns. It's also needed to protect your skin from sun damage.
Even if you're blessed with genes that enable you to have a perfect tan (which, side note, is a form of sun damage) after a day in the sun, protecting your skin should be a no-brainer.
If you don't take basic precautions, those rays can cause premature aging, skin cancer, and all sorts of other not-so-fun things. So, don't be fooled by your skin tone - use sunscreen to protect your skin and bask in the sun safely.
Myth #5: A higher SPF means better sun protection.
The Truth: While a higher SPF does provide more protection, the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 is not as significant as you might think.
You see, a sunblock with SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays, while an SPF 50 blocks about 98%. This means that the higher SPF only provides about 1% more protection, which isn't that much in the grand scheme of things.
Plus, higher SPF sunscreens tend to be more expensive and feel sticky on the skin.
So, what should you look for when choosing a sunscreen? First and foremost, make sure it is labeled as "broad-spectrum", meaning it protects against both harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Secondly, choose a sunblock with an SPF of at least 30. Doing these things can help ensure that your day out in the sun doesn't leave its mark on you.
Myth #6: UV rays don't penetrate through clothing.
The Truth: Only certain fabrics provide sufficient UV protection.
When it comes to protecting our skin from the sun's UV rays, many of us may assume that throwing on any old t-shirt is enough to stop the damage. But unfortunately, not all fabrics are created equal.
For example, polyester swim trunks will offer much more sun protection than a loose-fitting linen blouse.
This is why it's so important to wear both sunscreen and proper sun protection whether you're going surfing, swimming, hiking, or jogging in the park.
By pairing good quality sun-protective clothing with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you can ensure that you're protected from sun damage all day long.
Myth #7: It's safe to use expired sunscreen.
The Truth: Expired sunscreen is dangerous, but not for the reason you think.
Before you start worrying that your expired sunblock will give you chemical burns, let us explain.
Sunscreen contains active ingredients that go bad (ie. de-activate) overtime. Once a sunscreen expires, it loses its effectiveness and no longer provides the sun protection you need to spend the weekend swimming at the beach or taking on an all-day soccer marathon.
This is dangerous because if you use expired sunscreen, you might feel like you're being protected from the sun when in reality you're not.
So do yourself a favor and toss that old sunscreen from two years ago. And when you buy your new reef-safe sunscreen, be sure to store it in a cool, dry place, and use it up before its expiration date.
Now that you've heard the myths and seen them debunked, we hope you know a little more about the importance of sunblock this summer.
It's important to educate people and ensure that they understand the need to wear sunscreen whether they're going kayaking on a lake or having a picnic in the park. As the saying goes, knowledge is power!
So have fun this summer, be safe, and stay ripping!