Common Myths & Facts About Sunscreen: Dermatologist Insights

May 9, 2024
5 min read
Common Myths & Facts About Sunscreen: Dermatologist Insights

There are very few products that are as universally recommended as sunscreen. Offering protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, sunscreen is a key feature of skincare, preserving our skin’s health and reducing the risk of skin damage and more serious consequences like skin cancer.  

However, despite its importance, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding sunscreen that can leave us feeling confused about how to best protect our skin. In this blog by our experienced dermatologists, we’ll deep dive into these myths and reveal the facts about sunscreen, ensuring you have the insights you need to safeguard your skin with confidence.  

Myth #1: Darker Skin Doesn’t Need Sunscreen

It's a common misconception that individuals with darker skin tones don't need sunscreen. While it's true that melanin provides some protection against UV radiation, it's not enough to completely shield the skin from harm. Everyone, regardless of skin color, should incorporate sunscreen into their daily routine.

Myth #2: Makeup with SPF Offers Sufficient Protection

Many of us rely on makeup products with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to protect our skin throughout the day – whether it's in our foundations, primers, or another product. However, the reality is that although, yes, these products do offer SPF protection, we will never apply enough to achieve the level of protection we need. Sunscreen should be the foundation of any effective skincare routine, and makeup with SPF can be used on top for added protection.  

Myth #3: You Don’t Need Sunscreen on Cloudy Days

Don't be fooled by cloudy skies! UV rays can easily penetrate through clouds, meaning your skin is still at risk of damage even on overcast days. It's important to make sunscreen a non-negotiable step in your daily regimen, rain or shine.

Myth #4: Tanned Skin is Healthy Skin

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a healthy tan. In reality, tanning is a visible manifestation of skin damage and can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Sunscreen not only prevents these serious side effects associated with UV exposure, but also reduces the risk of premature ageing. If your skin needs a boost, why not explore our dull skin treatment?

Myth #5: Higher SPF Equals Better Protection

While it's tempting to reach for the sunscreen with the highest SPF, the difference in protection between SPF 30 and SPF 100 is minimal – only 1-2%. Instead, focus on applying an adequate amount of sunscreen and reapplying it regularly, especially after swimming or sweating.

Now let’s take a look at some of the facts...  

Fact #1: Waterproof Sunscreen Doesn’t Exist

While some sunscreens claim to be waterproof, no sunscreen product can completely withstand water. If you’ll be swimming or coming into frequent contact with water, opt for water-resistant formulas and reapply as needed.

Fact #2: Sunscreen Can Expire

Yes, even sunscreen has an expiration date! Over time, the active ingredients in sunscreen can degrade, reducing its effectiveness in providing protection against harmful UV radiation. Check the label for the expiry date and replace any expired products for optimal protection.

Fact #3: Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen is Key

While SPF indicates a sunscreen's ability to protect against UVB radiation, it's equally important to be protected against UVA radiation. Unlike UVB rays, which primarily cause sunburns, UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and can cause premature ageing, making you reach for prescription anti wrinkle cream sooner than expected.  

Broad-spectrum sunscreens are formulated to provide comprehensive protection against both UVA and UVB rays, offering a shield against a broader spectrum of harmful radiation.

Fact #4: Reapplication is Key

The effectiveness of sunscreen diminishes over time, especially with exposure to water, sweat, and friction. It's crucial to reapply sunscreen every two hours to maintain adequate protection throughout the day, or more frequently if you're swimming or sweating heavily.

Fact #5: Sunscreen Helps Prevent Skin Ageing  

In addition to reducing the risk of skin cancer, wearing sunscreen daily can also slow down the signs of ageing. UV radiation accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, and skin laxity. By shielding your skin from the sun's harmful rays, sunscreen helps to preserve its youthful appearance.  

Understanding the truth about sunscreen is essential for maintaining healthy and radiant skin. By debunking the myths and embracing the facts, we can make well-informed decisions that prioritise our skin’s wellbeing. So, the next time you step out into the sun, remember to reach for that bottle of sunscreen and give your skin the protection it deserves. After all, a little sunscreen today can keep ageing skin at bay!  

Got questions? Get in touch with the dermatologists here at MiQuest for personalised advice and assistance.  

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