While having fun outdoors, it’s easy to forget to protect yourself from harmful UV rays that can seriously damage skin later in life. Here are some common misconceptions about sun protection and also ways you can better protect yourself.
- Myth 1: SPF (Sun Protection Factor) implies entire coverage and protection from sunrays.
Just because a bottle says SPF does not mean that it will provide an ultimate protection for your skin. Most sunscreens only block UVB rays and disregard UVA rays because they are less intense than the UVB rays. UVA rays are actually 30-50 times more prevalent though, so it’s important to find protection from both.
- Myth 2: Applying sun block right before you leave or outside will still give you the same protection.
It takes your skin 15-20 minutes to actually absorb the sunscreen in order for it to be effective, so before you run out of the house be sure to let it sink into your skin for a bit. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.
- Myth 3: Its is okay to use only a small amount of sunscreen in order to avoid that greasy feeling.
If you want to truly protect your skin you’re actually supposed to use a one ounce (two tablespoons) for every application. Applying a thin layer of sun block only gives you a portion of the protection, leaving your skin at risk to burn and developing sunspots. If you don’t want that oily feeling, try using a spray-on block.
- Myth 4: There is no need to wear sunscreen on cloudy days.
Just as much UVB and UVA rays are present on a gloomy day as they are on a hot summer one. Despite the cloudiness, a portion of the rays still ascend through the clouds so be sure to cover up even when the weather is bad.
- Myth 5: A higher SPF number means more and longer coverage.
Your SPF 80 sunscreen will not last longer than one with SPF 30. The product will eventually evaporate with your sweat and rub off while doing activities so you should to reapply every 90 minutes. A higher SPF number also does not necessarily guarantee more protection. The amount you apply and frequency of reapplication actually plays a more crucial role in how well you are protected. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30-35 is sufficient and protects up to 97 percent of UV rays.