Sunscreen Protection: Myth Vs Fact

Everyone enjoys spending a sunny day outdoors, but today more than ever before, people are beginning to understand the effects of harmful rays. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, which means that your #1 priority in terms of skin care should be skin protection. It’s critical to find the most effective protection from UVA and UVB whether that’s found at your local drug store or spa. Now that wellness is its own category in the media today and with the growing lifestyle blogging community, on, it can be hard to differentiate between what’s true and what’s false, especially when it comes to which skincare products to buy. Here are some common myths about sunscreen, and the facts you need to know to best protect your skin:

Myth #1:

Using a higher SPF will give me better protection in the sun.

Fact: Using SPF 30 sunscreen blocks out 97% of harmful UVA and UVB light. When you jump up to a higher SPF, for example SPF 45, you are only going to get 1% more coverage and blockage from the UVA and UVB rays. Therefore, the SPF 45 would block 98% of rays in comparison to SPF 30 blocking 97%. If you go as high as SPF 110, the amount of additional coverage is infinitesimal. So the point is — nobody really needs a sunscreen with more than SPF 30.

Myth #2:

All sunscreen brands are the same, so I should just choose the cheapest option.

Fact: Sunscreen is worth the splurge. Some SPFs have a lot of bad chemicals in them, so it is important that you choose one with good ingredients and avoid Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. In the long run, it’s worth it to spend a little more on sunscreens that are backed by years of research and are safer for your body and health. Often a more expensive bottle means more research and studies have been done on the product. Also, did you know sunscreen is the #1 anti-aging product?

Myth #3:

I shouldn’t wear sunscreen because it contains harmful chemicals.

Fact: Yes, there are some harmful chemicals in certain sunscreens. This does not mean you should stop wearing sunscreen all together. The chemicals you need to avoid are Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, so check for those two ingredients before purchasing a new bottle of sunscreen. A sunscreen I recommend is MD solar science, because it tries to keep the ‘bad’ ingredients to a minimum while still producing a great, useful sunscreen. Many of the all-natural SPFs leave you ‘ghosted’ looking or simply will not come off your skin ever…..leaving your skin ashy for days! To me that makes using the natural versions less attractive. Remember to check the expiration date because SPFs like many other cosmetic products do expire so buy only what you will use before that expiration date.

Myth #4:

It’s only necessary to wear sunscreen in the spring and summer months when I will be outside a lot.

Fact: Day in, day out, winter, spring, summer and fall you’ll want to wear sunscreen everyday (at least on your face, neck, décolletage, ears, back of hands, and all the way back to the nape of the neck). Skiers, this may not help you avoid goggle tan lines, but wearing sunscreen will help prevent skin cancer!

Myth #5:

There is no difference between spray sunscreen and lotion sunscreen.

Fact: This is one of the biggest myths about SPF. Sprays are typically applied for two-to-three seconds on the body. That greatly decreases the efficacy of the product, and sometimes a spray won’t have the same level of SPF due to the fact that you have not applied enough sunscreen to the skin. My automatic default with my children, family and myself is lotion. I would highly recommend using a lotion SPF instead of a spray. However, I will say, spray SPFs do come in handy when you’re trying to cover the top of your scalp.

Lastly, sun exposure is not all bad for you! Fifteen minutes a day with proper SPF coverage is perfectly fine — and can even be beneficial by giving your body Vitamin D that it needs to keep your brain and heart healthy. Always remember if you’re in a pinch, you can apply your facial SPF to your body, but I wouldn’t recommend applying your body SPF to your face — it may cause breakouts.