Top 7 Myths about Sunscreens

Jun 25, 2010
Many people know the basics of protecting themselves from sun damage and use sunscreen, when the summer heat begins. However, sunscreen can become useless and failing to protect against sunburn, if you do not use it right. There are numerous myths concerning sunscreen use and application that prevent people from the right protection against UV exposure.

1. It is enough to use sunscreen to get UV protection

While it is essential to use sunscreen to protect yourself from UV rays, it is often not enough to get the best protection from sun damage. The thing is that many people use sunscreen incorrectly, forgetting to reapply the sunscreen. For the best sun safety it recommended to wear sun protective clothes, avoid sun exposure at midday, stay on the shade and wear sunglasses.

2. The higher SPF the better protection

Many people think that choosing a sunscreen with SPF50+ will protect then from sunburn better. However, this is not quite true. SPF means how long you can stay in the sun without burning. In fact, the sunscreen with SPF 30 blocks around 97 percent of UVB rays, while sunscreen with SPF 50 blocks around 98 percent of rays, which does not make a big difference. SPF 50 and higher block slightly more UVB rays, but it does not guarantee 100 percent protection. That is why most specialists recommend using sunscreen with SPF 30.

3. You should use sunscreen in the summer

Most  of us start using sunscreen only when spending time at the beach. And while the UV exposure is the greatest in summer, more than 80 percent of the sun UV rays are passed through on cloudy days. Also it is known that the highest rates of skin cancer in US were recorded in the cities that are not considered to be very sunny. To get the most protection from UV rays you need to use it all year long.

4. People with dark skin do not need sunscreen

While it is true that people with dark skin have some extra protection against UV exposure of about SPF 13, it does not mean that they do not need UV protection. US studies showed that people with dark skin are even more likely to develop serious complications from skin cancer, because the condition is often diagnosed on the late stage. That's why it is important to use sunscreen for people with any color of the skin.

5. Once you've applied the sunscreen you've got all day long protection

Many people get sunburned, even if they use high SPF sunscreen, simply because they do not use it right. In general, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours, after excessive sweating and after swimming or bathing. If you have water-resistant sunscreen, you can spend around 40 minutes in the water. There are no sunscreens that provide all day long protection even with the highest SPF.

6. You should apply sunscreen when you get outside

Using sunscreen correctly is probably the most important thing to protect yourself from UV exposure. It is recommended to apply sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. This is because it takes some time for the sunscreen to be absorbed and start working. If you apply sunscreen when you are already on the beach, your skin will remain unprotected longer.

7. You should rub in sunscreen thoroughly for better protection

In fact, the recent studies showed that applying sunscreen right is even more important as choosing the right SPF. For example, rubbing the sunscreen into the skin is not ineffective, because the sunscreen accumulates in lines and sweat glands, which does not fofer protection from UV rays. It is better to rub in the sunscreen carefully, allowing it to dry on the skin and use generous amounts of cream.