Don’t get burned by false information! Even the most skin-savvy among us often buy into common myths that can leave us exposed to sun damage, premature ageing and an increased risk of skin cancer. To help clear up the misconceptions, here are six sunscreen myths to stop believing.
Myth 1: Sunscreen causes cancer
Truth: To date, there is no scientific proof or medical evidence that sunscreen causes cancer, but there is a lot of medical evidence that UV rays from the sun and tanning beds do. Some people worry that certain chemicals in sunscreen (such as retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone) are absorbed by the skin and can cause cancer. While we always say it’s a good idea to research claims and pay attention to the science behind the ingredients in products you use, keep in mind that the cancer risk from not wearing sunscreen far exceeds any potential health risk from sunscreen ingredients.
Myth 2: The higher the SPF, the longer you can go before reapplying
Truth: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to how much of the sun’s rays the sunscreen filters, not how long it lasts. So, whether you’re wearing SPF 10 or SPF 100, you need to reapply it (link to blog post: Sunscreen quantity application) at least every two hours, and immediately after swimming or sweating. ALL sunscreens only last two hours because the sun and moisture break down or wash off some of the protective chemicals.
Myth 3: Sunscreen prevents the body from absorbing vitamin D
Truth: When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it manufactures vitamin D, which is crucial for keeping your bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Sunscreen, however, blocks UV rays, which is why it’s a common belief that your body won’t be able to absorb any “sunshine vitamin” while wearing sunscreen. The good news is that studies have never found that everyday sunscreen use leads to vitamin D insufficiency. No matter how much sunscreen you use or how high the SPF, 2 to 3 percent of the sun’s UV rays still reach your skin and your body only needs a little amount to produce vitamin D.
Myth 4: I don’t need to wear sunscreen if I plan to be indoors
Truth: There’s no escaping those sun’s rays, even while you’re sitting indoors! Window glass blocks UVB rays but not UVA rays. In fact, studies have shown that constant exposure to UVA rays through windows may even accelerate premature ageing by five to seven years, and increase skin cancer risk. Plus, if you’re sitting at a desk all day in front of a device, the blue light radiation from your computer and cellphone screen can damage the deep layers of the skin and cause skin damage.
Myth 5: Dark skin doesn’t need sunscreen
Truth: Some people believe that those with more melanin in their skin do not need to use sunscreen, because melanin acts to diffuse UVB rays. While dark-toned skin will not burn as easily as light-toned skin, UVA damage is not blocked by melanin in the same way and can lead to premature skin ageing and wrinkles. People with darker skin are also not protected against skin cancer. Absolutely everyone, regardless of skin colour, gender or race, needs to wear sunscreen.
Myth 6: All sunscreens cause breakouts
Truth: Some face sunscreens certainly do, but not all. Finding the right SPF product that isn’t too thick and oily, and doesn’t leave a white cast on the skin, can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. For example, SKIN functional’s SPF50 is a broad spectrum sunscreen that is oil-free, non-irritating, fragrance-free. It goes on sheer, absorbs quickly and has a delightfully velvety finish that feels similar to a moisturiser. It’s suitable for all skin types – including sensitive, dry, combination and oily skin. Best of all, there is absolutely no white or grey cast no matter what your skin tone is.