WOW | Beauty

7 Sunscreen Myths That Are Just Plain False

We lecture you a lot about the importance of wearing SPF every day — and now there’s even more proof that not slathering on the sunscreen religiously can lead to skin cancer. A new study found that women who had at least five sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 had an 80 percent increased risk of melanoma.

beauty-foto-1Given the scary stats on skin cancer, it’s essential that you know how to apply SPF properly to ensure you’re as protected as possible from UV damage. Top dermatologists debunk common sunscreen misconceptions so that you can make smart sun decisions all year long.

Myth: The higher the SPF, the better.
Reality: There is very little difference in an SPF 30 or 50 or 100 in the total percentage of ultraviolet light blocked. It is far better to use an SPF 30 appropriately than an SPF 50 without reapplying. To get enough coverage, follow these rules: Apply two ounces (about a shot glass worth) of sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply every two hours.

Myth: Makeup with SPF offers adequate sun protection.
Reality: Using makeup with SPF doesn’t offer enough protection because makeup is usually applied unevenly onto the skin. What’s more, the SPF in your makeup only last two hours. You can still use your favorite foundation or powder with SPF — just layer it on over your sunscreen. Doing this will double your chances of protecting your skin.

Myth: You shouldn’t wear sunscreen because the ingredients can cause cancer.
Reality: While this is a hot topic right now, there’s no strong scientific study linking the ingredients in sunscreen to cancer. However, there are many studies linking excessive sun exposure to skin cancer, so the answer to this argument is simple: wear sunscreen. It’s a no-brainer. Not all sunscreens have chemical ingredients, so if you are worried, choose a chemical-free, physical formula with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead.

Myth: You don’t need to use sunscreen everywhere.
Reality: You may be overlooking areas and increasing your risk for skin cancer. Often the most worrisome moles are found on the palms and soles. For starters, these areas have far less pigment — they don’t tan — and second, people rarely put sunscreen on their palms and soles, so they get unprotected intense exposure. It is recommended saving the more expensive sunscreens for your face and using a cheaper one on your body to make sure you’re actually applying enough. People tend to under-apply if they use a high-priced sunscreen.

Myth: Kids’ sunscreen is gentler.
Reality: Both kids and adult sunscreens contain the same active ingredients, they just have different formulations. Adult sunscreens tend to be more cosmetically elegant — they go on sheer and invisible — whereas kid sunscreens can be a little thicker and more opaque, since kids usually don’t care. Many kids’ sunscreens are formulated to be tear-free so they won’t sting your eyes. If you find sunscreen irritating, opt for a physical formulation with the active ingredients zinc or titanium dioxide. Physical sunscreens are always the better option for sensitive skin because there are no chemicals that can react.

Myth: Lotion sunscreen works better than the spray kind.
Reality: There is no real difference — it depends on what you prefer in terms of how it feels on your skin. If you find lotions to be sticky, you might be inclined to apply less than you should because you don’t like the texture. In that case, opt for a spray. The speed of application of spray-on sunscreens translates into faster, more efficient coverage, which is very helpful if you are already at the beach and need to apply. Just make sure you’re using enough — the entire sprayed area should be wet with product.

Myth: You don’t have to reapply water-resistant SPF.
Reality: The FDA’s newest guidelines state that any water-resistance claims must include how much time you can expect to be protected while swimming or sweating — either 40 or 80 minutes. Under the new guidelines, which went into effect in June 2012, sunscreen manufacturers can no longer claim their products are waterproof or sweat proof.