Debunking 7 Myths about Sunscreen
Sunscreen, which is also known as sunblock, is a lotion or cream that is applied to the skin to protect it from the harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Radiation from the sun causes skin damage and further leads to skin cancer. UV radiation from the sun is the primary reason for skin cancer. But as you will search online for information, you will stumble upon a lot of many misconceptions related to sunscreen. This post aims to clarify such claims and debunk a few myths related to sunscreen. You will also understand why we must incorporate sunscreen into our daily life.
Myth#1: Sunscreen Can Cause Skin Cancer
Absolutely no! You need to understand that using sunscreen does not cause skin cancer of any sort. There are mainly three types of skin cancers:
- Squamous cell carcinoma,
- Basal cell carcinoma, and
Studies suggest that sunscreen protects the skin from all three cancers. The amount of protection that a sunscreen gives is directly related to the amount of which ultraviolet radiation is associated with the formation of skin cancer. A person exposed to the sun for a longer period or is traveling to a sunnier climate and sunbathing will be at higher risk of developing skin cancer despite using sunscreen. The higher the amount of sun exposure, the greater will be the risk of skin cancer. In other words, sunscreen does not give cancer.
Myth#2: Applying Sunscreen Cause Chemical Allergy
There are two types of sunscreen:
- First is a physical blocker that reflects UV rays and contains two main ingredients, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.
- The second one is a chemical blocker that absorbs UV rays. This particular blocker contains a lot of ingredients among which one is oxybenzone.
Oxybenzone or BP-3 might cause allergy in some people but it is rare. Oxybenzone is also found in hairspray, plastic, and nail polish. You need to be careful about the type of skin you have and according to that, you need to use these products. For example, if you have oily skin, then you should get a sunscreen made only for oily skin.
Overall, we can say sunscreen does not cause allergy unless if you are using a product with the wrong ingredient.
Myth#3: Use a Sunscreen Only When You Go Out
This is one of the biggest myths floating around sunscreen. If you are stepping out of the house, you need to use a sunscreen. Even if it is cloudy outside or raining, you have to apply sunscreen because the clouds do not stop the harmful sun rays from reaching us. According to skin cancer specialists, our skin absorbs the majority of UVA and UVB rays of the sun even during a cloudy day. You should be applying sunscreen even when you are home. Skipping sunscreen is a bad choice we make for our skin and health. If you, in case, notice any type of red patch or redness that does go away after a few weeks, it is advised to immediately consult a dermatologist.
Myth#4: Sunscreen Darken Your Skin Colour
Harmful sun rays not only cause damage to our skin but also lead to premature aging. Applying sunscreen is a must for everyone. But sunscreen does not cause skin colour to change. However, if you stay outside for a long period in the sun then you will get tan despite applying sunscreen. The face, lower arms, and neck are the common areas to leave exposed which increases skin damage. Apply sunscreen all over the exposed uncommon areas like toes, hands, and hairline.
Myth#5: Onetime Application of Any High SPF Sunscreen Will Last All Day
We all think that using a high SPF in the morning will last day long. Firstly, high SPF is just a number that informs you of how much that particular sunscreen will block the UV rays from destroying your skin. But sunscreen loses its effectiveness and protection after you go out in the light. This again, after few hours, leaves your skin exposed to the harmful rays of the sun. So, you should always reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours while you are exposed to the sun.
Myth#6: Sunscreen Will Not Let the Body Absorb Vitamin D
We get a vital vitamin from sunrays. Vitamin D is very important for us and it is easily available from UV rays. Sunscreen, on the other hand, blocks these UV rays and so it is for sure to prevent a person from getting vitamin D. However, sunlight penetrates through our clothes. Scientists and dermatologists suggest 5-30 minutes of sunbathing can help the body to absorb the proper amount of vitamin D. You can also include adequate vitamin D supplements in your diet after consulting a doctor.
Myth#7: Dark Skin People Do Not Need Sunscreen
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about sunscreen. Melanin is the pigmentation that is found in the skin that gives colour to your skin, hair, and eyes. Some people have cells that make more melanin than others. Melanin acts to diffuse UVB rays and sometimes protect against sunburns. Though people with dark skin are protected from the sun rays, they should also use sunscreen. Sunscreen is important for people with dark skin also, as no using it may cause premature skin aging and wrinkles.
People need to understand the truth and debunk the myths for the better utility of a product. The main points that you need to keep in mind before and after buying a particular product are:
- Always go for a waterproof sunscreen
- Try to buy a product labelled as “broad spectrum”
- Your sunscreen should have a minimum of SPF 30 and a maximum of SPF 50.
The last but not the least is to never use products which are expired. Expired sunscreen not only is ineffective but might also harm your skin. It is best to avoid unnecessary sun exposure as a precaution is always better than cure.
If you are tired of using lots of sunscreens, our previous post about foods that fight against UV damages may interest you.
Use the comment box below to share any such myth you have heard about sunscreen or any other products.