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Stop Believing these 5 Common Sunscreen Myths!

Sunscreen use is vital in protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Ultraviolet rays can damage the skin, cause premature aging, and even lead to skin cancer. Despite these risks of unprotected sun exposure, certain misconceptions have been gaining traction regarding the effectiveness and use of sunscreen.

Such myths have left even the most skin-savvy people exposed to the risk of sun damage and premature aging.

However, to prevent this from happening, here at Sanova Dermatology, we decided to help clear up the misconceptions and further shed light on the usage and effectiveness of sunscreen.

Here are some of the top myths:

Myth #1  SPF in makeup is sufficient for daily protection

One of the most frequently seen misconceptions is that you don’t need to apply sunscreen to your face if your makeup/foundation contains SPF. While SPF in makeup can offer some protection against damaging rays, the amount of foundation one would need to apply to reap the benefits of the SPF is not realistic. Most people are not willing to apply multiple times the amount of makeup they would typically wear to get the SPF protection. Also, many cosmetics containing SPF do not offer broad-spectrum protection which is the type of coverage we recommend for protecting against the different types of damaging rays. It is always recommended to apply SPF before putting on makeup and reapply every 2 hours throughout the day. “One of the easiest ways to reapply sunscreen over makeup is to use a mineral SPF powder, such as with the colorescience sunforgettable brush-on sunscreen,” notes Lesley Ott, a dermatology nurse practitioner at Sanova Dermatology – Baton Rouge.

Myth #2  Cloudy Days Don’t Require Sunscreen

You are more likely to feel cooler on a cloudy day. However, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t being impacted by the sun’s harmful rays.

To put this into perspective, the clouds don’t block the harmful UVA and UVB rays from penetrating your skin. Clouds only filter less than 25% of the UV rays. As a result, the UV rays are still able to penetrate the clouds and your skin. All the reasons why you should avoid skipping sunscreen regardless of the weather!

Myth #3  Water Prevents Sunburns

Such an assertion can’t hold water because of two big reasons. First, UVB rays can penetrate shallow waters. Secondly, sunlight rays reflect off the water.

As a result, your body parts in shallow water or those not immersed in water but are near water, are exposed to UV rays-leading to sunburn.

Another important thing to note is that car windows don’t offer sufficient protection against UVA rays, although they are recognized for blocking UVB rays. Knowing this information, it is recommended that you apply sunscreen while driving and wear protective gloves/clothing.

Myth #4  Sunscreen with super-high SPF can last all day long

Applying a higher SPF sunscreen doesn’t offer longer-lasting protection. To put it briefly, SPF numbers are based on how much the sunscreen can block the UVB rays from damaging your skin. We know sunscreen can offer great protection over a period of two hours, after this amount of time the protection decreases.

With that being said, your skin is bound to be exposed to harmful UV rays after 2 hours have elapsed – if you don’t reapply sunscreen.

In addition, it is worth noting that not all sunscreens offer sufficient protection against UVB rays. Therefore, you should opt for a sunscreen with a ‘broad spectrum’ to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

Myth #5  Your body has to be exposed to the sun for you to get skin cancer.

Although there is a higher chance of getting skin cancer on the body parts exposed to the sun, there is still a possibility that other parts of your body can develop skin cancer.

The sun is considered the major contributor to skin cancer but it is not the only factor that leads to skin cancer. Other factors, such as genetics, may play a part in the development of skin cancer in places that you wouldn’t suspect.

You shouldn’t write off that suspicious-looking spot on your body, even if it’s underneath your nails or on the bottom of your foot. It may end up being a dangerous form of cancer.

***Bonus Myth #6  Sunscreen offers complete protection against skin cancer

This is wrong. Although sunscreen prevents the penetration of UV rays, it doesn’t block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. With that being said, it is always recommended to wear protective gear, such as UPF clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses.

Other helpful tips for incorporating include:

  • Avoid exposure to the sun during peak hours
  • Apply sunscreen over the commonly overlooked areas-including your lips!
  • Always seek shade
  • Get a full-body skin exam annually

Contact Us

Need Help with selecting the best sunscreen for your skin or your annual skin cancer screening? Contact us today to learn more about sunscreen and how you can protect your skin from damage!

About Lesley Ott, FNP-C

Lesley has almost 5 years of dermatology experience working as a Registered Nurse at Sanova Dermatology. Her experience includes working with medical and cosmetic dermatology patients and Mohs surgical patients. Her passion for connecting with and educating patients on prevention and treatment is a driving factor in her current practice. She is accepting new dermatology patients of all ages. Lesley is excited to be a part of your journey to achieve healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Schedule your skin check today!