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Sunday, April 7, 2024

Debunking Your Favorite Sunscreen Myths

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Summer is just around the corner. A lot of people are already anticipating it’s all too familiar sights and smell – the sun, the sea, the shore, the sandals, all the nice outfits you can wear as well as the adventures you can create.

Sunblock is one of the season’s staples, along with paperbacks and bottles of beer. But with all of its ubiquity, the use of sunscreen is often riddled with tons of myths and misuse. Below are some of the most common myths regarding sunscreen use.

1.Sunscreen should only be used when the sun is out.

A lot of people have the rather unpleasant of going out of the house or office during a cloudy day, only to return already sunburnt. It simply goes to show that people follow that certain myth that they can go out sunscreen-free during days when the sun is not shining through the clouds. Because when the sun is covered, it is so easy to assume that you are being spared from its harmful UV rays. However, unlike its like or warmth, the sun’s radiation can’t be felt directly. And although the clouds in the atmosphere partially block the radiation, about 80% of it can still penetrate our planet. So make it a habit to apply some sunscreen on your skin when you are going out in daytime, regardless if it’s overcast or not.

2.It is the SPF that matters.

People are so used to hearing that the sunscreen they should be using should come in an SPF of 15 and higher, making it seem that SPF is the only thing that matters when it comes to deciding which sunscreen to procure. But really, SPF (sun protection factor) is not the only thing that comprises a good sunscreen. SPF is basically an approximation of how long it can protect you from the sun without you being totally roasted. An SPF 15 sunscreen therefore will allow you to be exposed underneath the sun’s rays at roughly 15 times longer than it will take your skin to burn without any type of protection.A product with SPF 30 will extend this protection up to 30 times longer. However, note that protection of UV radiation does not increase in proportion in terms of SPF value. It is said that an SPF 15 product will block about 93% of UV rays while anything that’s with SPF 30 can block up to 97%.

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3.People who are dark-skinned do not need anything with SPF.

This one is completely false, though some people are indeed more prone to having sunburns than others. This is because of melanin production in the body. This is a skin pigment that absorbs UV rays. Dark skinned people have higher concentrations of melanin in their bodies but that doesn’t necessarily equate to a protection level that warrants a complete elimination of sunscreen use.

4.That use of an old bottle of sunscreen is okay.

Like milk, use of spoiled or expired sunscreen is really of no benefit. Sunscreens expire because the ingredients used in creating them lose their potency over time. Using expired bottles of sunscreen is not only ineffective but may pose some health hazards as well. Plus, if you are using your sunscreens religiously and properly, it’s unlikely that you’ll have something that’s anywhere near expiry.

5.That sunscreen is toxic to your skin and overall health.

Some people fear that sunscreen use causes cancer although medical communities have already established that such concerns have been blown severely out of proportions. There is a link between skin cancer and photo damage and that is one thing that’s already been proven, but the possibility of having ultra adverse effects from using sunscreens are far less established. And also, people need to know that the production and selling of sunblock products are very much regulated in the United States. In fact, the FDA subjects sunscreens to a far more rigid regulatory scrutiny than other cosmetic products that can penetrate the skin.

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