12 myths and facts about sunscreen

Modern sunscreens are very elaborate and offer more protection than ever. There are sunscreen myths and misconceptions that people should be aware of before purchasing their next bottle. Understanding the truth about sunscreens can help people use them correctly

UVB rays are most likely to cause sunburn, while UVA rays are more likely to cause wrinkles. Sunscreen can protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Understanding sunscreen myths requires a basic understanding of UVA and UVB rays. These are two forms of ultraviolet (UV) light that can affect the skin after exposure.

UVA light has a longer wave that penetrates the thickest layer of the skin, called the dermis. Unprotected exposure to UVA rays can lead to aging of the skin, the appearance of wrinkles and the suppression of the immune system. UVB rays are shorter waveform and are most responsible for sunburn, which is the burning of the top layer of skin. UVB rays can play a key role in the development of skin cancer, and frequent sunburn can cause permanent damage over time.

12 Sunscreen Myths

We look at 12 common misconceptions about sunscreens.

1. Sunscreen isn’t always necessary

Many people think that sunscreen is only necessary when their whole body is exposed to the sun, such as at the pool or in the ocean. Ultraviolet rays are always harmful to exposed skin, regardless of the amount exposed. Some people also believe that sunscreen is not necessary on cloudy days because the sun is not as strong as usual. The truth is that whenever the body is exposed to sunlight, it is exposed to UV rays, even if the weather is overcast. The arms and face are common areas that are left exposed all day, which can increase the risk of sun damage. It is best to cover exposed skin with sunscreen and consider other methods of protection, such as wearing a hat.

2. Sunscreen prevents the body from absorbing vitamin D

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient for human health, and the body easily manufactures it through exposure to UV rays. Sunscreens, on the other hand, block UV rays. So, in theory, using sunscreen 100% of the time would prevent a person from getting adequate levels of vitamin D. However, sunlight can pass through clothing, sunscreens lose their effectiveness with the time, and a person is likely to forget to put on sunscreen every time they see the sun. Many scientists and dermatologists suggest that 5-30 minutes of sun exposure a day is enough to create the proper amount of vitamin D in the body.

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3. Sunscreens cause health problems

This myth stems from an older study done on oxybenzone, one of the active ingredients in many sunscreens. Rats exposed to oxybenzone suffered severe negative side effects.
However, as a research letter published in Archives of Dermatology indicates, the exposure levels achieved by this study to produce health problems in rats were extremely high.
Their calculations demonstrated that these results were unattainable in humans, even those who regularly and liberally use sunscreen. The researchers noted that after 40 years of using oxybenzone as an ingredient in sunscreens, there are no published studies demonstrating toxic effects in humans caused by absorbed oxybenzone.

4. Dark-skinned people don’t need sunscreen

Dark-skinned people are always at risk of sunburn and skin damage. Taking precautions, such as wearing sunscreen, is always recommended, regardless of skin color. Some people think that those with more melanin in their skin don’t need to use sunscreen. Indeed, melanin diffuses UVB rays and can protect against sunburn, to some extent. While people with darker skin are better protected from the sun, they should still use a full-spectrum sunscreen. UVA damage is not blocked by melanin in the same way and can lead to premature skin aging and the appearance of wrinkles. Melanin also does not protect the skin against extreme sun exposure, such as spending long hours in the sun without protection. People with darker skin are also not protected against skin cancer.

5. Tanning booths provide a protective base tan

Some people think that they should use tanning booths to get a quick tan before summer or before exposure to intense sun, for example on vacation. Tanning beds use high concentrations of UVA light to quickly darken the skin, whereas the sun includes both UVA and UVB light. Exposing the body to high levels of UVA light in a tanning bed creates a temporary tan that will do little to protect the skin against sun exposure and sunburn caused by UVB light.

6. Makeup is enough to protect the face

While makeup can provide a little protection from the sun, it’s not much and it’s no substitute for a good sunscreen. Makeup should be seen as an extra layer of protection, not the only layer of protection.

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7. Sunscreen is more effective than makeup

It can be tempting to think that a layer of sunscreen makes the body invincible in the sun. Many people who wear sunscreen believe it keeps them protected throughout the day, even when a lot of skin is exposed. In fact, covering the skin is much better protection than sunscreen. A long-brimmed hat and clothing protect the skin better than any sunscreen.

8. You can’t tan while wearing sunscreen.

Sunscreen will protect the skin from most light rays, but some will still reach the skin. This means that it is still possible to tan while wearing sunscreen.
Sunscreen helps protect against UVA and UVB rays, but it may not fully protect the body. It is always possible to tan using sunscreen, even if you apply it several times during the day. Tanning is the body’s natural protective response to UV exposure. To avoid tanning, it is best to apply sunscreen and cover up with a hat and long clothes.

9. All sunscreens are the same

It is often mistakenly thought that all sunscreens are pretty much the same and do the same job. However, sunscreens contain a wide variety of ingredients that can protect against different levels of sun exposure. Active ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and ecamsule are often used to filter UVA and UVB rays. There are also chemical blockers, such as avobenzone. These ingredients all block the sun in different ways. It is important to use a full-spectrum sunscreen because it protects the skin from most UV rays. The other important element is the sun protection factor (SPF).

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10. One application of sunscreen lasts all day

Many people think that sunscreen lasts all day after just one application. In reality, sunscreen breaks down in the light and loses its effectiveness in a short time. People should apply sunscreen every 2-4 hours, at least.

11. Sunscreen is waterproof.

Sunscreens labeled as water or sweat resistant, or marketed as sports sunscreen, may appear to be waterproof. Unfortunately, this is an overestimate of what sunscreen can do. No sunscreen product can be 100% waterproof. Always reapply water-resistant sunscreens after exposure to water. Let the sunscreen sit on the skin for at least 10-15 minutes before getting in the water.

12. Sunscreen never expires.

Contrary to popular belief, sunscreens expire naturally. Active ingredients can break down over time, and using expired sunscreen can leave skin unprotected.

Instructions for each sunscreen may vary, and people should follow package directions for maximum protection. Proper use of sunscreen can help guard against skin damage and sunburn.

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