Ever wonder if you really need to wear sunscreen if it's cloudy out or not reapply after swimming if your sunscreen is water resistant? There are a lot of misconceptions about sunscreen and we're here to debunk common myths to make sure you're properly protecting your skin.
Myth #1: Only people with fair skin need SPF
Fact: Everyone needs SPF regardless of your skin tone. Even if you don't see your skin burning from UVB rays, it is still susceptible to sun damage. Your skin is also exposed to UVA rays which cause premature aging and skin cancer. This is why it’s so important to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays!
Myth #2: You only need to apply SPF when you’re outside
Fact: UVA rays are sneaky and more than 50% of these rays penetrate through glass! There are also other sources of indoor UV exposure making it important to apply SPF no matter where you are. Learn more in our last blog, Do I need to wear sunscreen inside? (spoiler: the answer is yes!)
Myth #3: If it's not sunny out, you don’t need to wear SPF
Fact: Clouds may block sunlight, but that doesn't mean they block UV rays. The American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) found that up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays can pass through clouds. Regardless of the weather, make sure you lather up to protect your skin.
Myth #4: If your sunscreen is water resistant, you don’t need to reapply after swimming or sweating
Fact: Water resistant sunscreen is definitely the better option when you’re active. However, you still need to reapply accordingly based upon the water resistant rating, either 40 or 80 minutes. This rating means that after the 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, it’s time to reapply!
Myth #5: If your sunscreen is SPF 50 you don’t need to re-apply it as often
Fact: The SPF rating indicates the level of protection it provides for UV rays not how long it keeps you protected for. While SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98%, they still need to be reapplied every 2 hours!
Myth #6: You should start applying SPF more often when you’re older
Fact: 80% of sun damage happens before the age of 18, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Personally, I was diagnosed with melanoma when I was only 19 years old! Melanoma is the #1 most diagnosed cancer among people who are 25-29 years old in the United States. It is the third and fourth most common for men and women aged 15-29 years old, respectively. So it’s crucial to get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day starting when you’re young.
Essentially it's always a good idea to apply sunscreen no matter your age, skin tone, location, or weather! Get in the habit of applying it every day and don't forget to re-apply. Your future self will thank you :)
Melanoma Research Alliance: https://www.curemelanoma.org/about-melanoma/melanoma-statistics-2
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/6-sunscreen-myths-debunked.h26-1592202.html