The Top Myths About Sun Protection
Don't believe these myths and protect your skin this summer.
Yahoo has done their research and busted the most popular myths about sun protection. Alicia Barba, MD, board-certified dermatologist, and Stephen Lynch, PhD., research and innovation at SkinCeuticals, were asked to set the record straight.
Myth: Dark Skin Doesn’t Need Sunscreen and Can’t Get Melanoma
“Darker skin tones are less prone to skin cancer, but this myth means signs are ignored until there’s a bleeding lesion so far advanced that chances of survival are diminished,” says Barba. I have very fair skin that takes forever to darken so I've always been sort of jealous of those people who tan so easily. Make sure, even if you do have darker skin, that you apply sunscreen regularly!
Myth: A Base Tan Protects You
“A base tan is nature’s way of producing sun protection because you’ve been irradiated,” says Barba. “However, it doesn’t lessen your risk of skin cancer, and you’ll age your skin exponentially with constant sun tanning.” Just because you can tan, doesn't mean you should. It's a hard thing to live by because of society nowadays, but think about the future.
Myth: You Don’t Need to Use Sunscreen Inside
This is news to me! I've never put on sunscreen before heading to work, where I am inside most of the day. Apparently, all contact with sunlight requires protection, even through a window. “Any exposure, from an office or car window to walking from building to building, requires SPF.” I believe it, but I'm not going to worry about getting a sunburn on the way to my car in the afternoon. Hopefully I won't regret it one day...
Myth: The Number on Sunscreen is Proportionate to the Number of Minutes of Sun Protection
I've heard this so many times that now that I've even spread the myth but it has nothing to do with exposure time. It’s about the strength of protection against the sun’s harmful rays. “As defined by the FDA, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin relative to unprotected skin,” says Lynch. “It’s a measure of protection a given product provides against UVB-induced damage.” For example, if you wear SPF 15, it allows 1/15 of harmful UVB rays to reach the skin. The remaining 14/15 means you’re protecting against 93% of UVB radiation. SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 prevents 98%.
Myth: The SPF in Makeup is Enough
Think about the amount of sunscreen you apply at the beach and how you cover every inch of skin from ear to ear, neck to hairline. You're probably not as heavy handed with your make-up application, like me, and it’s just not enough. “It’s good enough to cover you when you’re walking from your car to work,” says Barba. “If you’re outside longer than 15 minutes, you need higher SPF and must reapply.”
If you're like me, you learn things like this, and you become a little paranoid for a while. Just keep these in mind when you plan a fun day in the sun and don't forget the sunscreen. Also, try to skip on the oils...it's like asking for cancer.