From just a beach-bag product to an everyday skin-care must, sunscreen has come a long way in just a few years. But there are still rumors and misinformation regarding sun care that has kept skin cancer as the most common form of the disease. Let’s help end that: Here, we bust the biggest sunscreen myths to ensure you’re fully protected before you step into the summer sun.
Myth 1: SPF Is the Only Thing That Matters
Truth: Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not the only item on the label you should look out for. The SPF number only indicates how effectively the product is blocking UVB rays. Snap up a broad-spectrum sunscreen that targets both UVA and UVB radiation. UVB rays stick to the skin’s surface to cause sunburn and reddening, while UVA digs deeper into the skin’s layers to cause aging and other damage that can’t be immediately seen.
Myth 2: There Are Times You Can Skip the Sunscreen
Truth: Those with darker complexions may brown like nuts in the sun, but that’s not a good thing. Late-stage melanoma cases have become more prevalent among dark skin beauties according to the Skin Cancer Foundation so make sure you’re applying sunscreen regardless of your skin tone. Even on a cloudy day, UVA/UVB rays can bounce off of clouds before reaching your skin, so you still need to slather on the sunscreen.
Myth 3: Sunscreen Is Sweatproof and Waterproof
Truth: The FDA took waterproof and sweatproof labeling off shelves in 2012 with new regulations. There are water-resistant formulas that last for up to 40 or 80 minutes in water, but even so, you should still reapply at least a shot-glass-full on every exposed area of skin. And don’t forget lips, ears, tops of feet, and along the hairline and scalp.
Myth 4: Sunscreens Are Full of Chemicals
Truth: While some sunscreens contain PABAs and other chemicals that absorb and scatter the rays, others are made from natural products. It’s mostly a matter of preference, but if you prefer a physical block, look for sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are natural minerals that sit on top of skin to deflect radiation. These products can come formulated with aloe, shea butter, and vitamins that are friendly to even sensitive skin types to nourish and moisturize.