Common sun cream myths

Take it or leave it, your sunscreen ignorance can put your health on the line. Improper sun protection can cause skin cancer and wrinkles among other such skin conditions. And just when we thought we knew everything about protecting our skin from sun damage, the experts have dispelled every myth we’ve been following.

So here we are separating facts from fiction to keep the skin safe this summer. Consultant dermatologist Dr Noor Almaani and sun cream developer Seena Seka dispels every myth about your sunscreen, as reported by Daily Mail.

There are two types of ultraviolet lights: UVB, which causes sunburn, and UVA, which penetrates the skin more deeply and can cause wrinkles. Both UVB and UVA rays can lead to skin cancer.

1) MYTH – Sun cream stops you from getting a tan

It is an age-old myth that sun cream blocks the tanning. “Sunburn can be avoided by using a high factor sun cream, with a minimum SPF of 30. You will still get tanned by doing this, but it will take longer, and you will be more protected from both UVA and UVB rays,” says Seka.

The myth is likely perpetuated by a misunderstanding of the difference between sunscreen and sunblock, he adds. “Sunblock completely prevents UV rays from getting to the skin which would prevent tanning, however sunscreen filters UV rays preventing sunburn whilst allowing the skin to tan.”

We live in a time where information is in abundance and we’re not always sure what to do with them. Sunscreen being one of them. Despite hundreds of sun protection data and solution found over the Internet, there are many of us who are still hazy on the subject of UV-rays protection creams and how to best use it.

2) MYTH – Cloud protect you from sun’s harmful rays

This is a major mistake millions are guilty of making – ditching the sun cream because it is cloudy outside. The myth is that clouds offer protection against the sun’s harmful rays. But the experts disagree. Dr Almaani says the idea simply is not true. “UV rays have the same intensity during daylight hours the whole year round, it is not weather or season dependent.” Further adding,”They can seep through clouds so even on overcast days, when it’s grey and miserable, it’s important to wear SPF.”

Dispelling the myth, Mr Seka too disagrees and says, “Clouds don’t offer protection against the sun’s rays, so sun cream does need to be applied even on cloudy days.’ He adds, ‘Always bear in mind that you don’t need to be in direct sunlight to be exposed to UV rays.”

3) MYTH – Expensive sun cream offers more protection

The assumption that the more you pay for a sun cream, the more protection it offers is anything but true, which the experts agree.

4) MYTH – UVA rays are only measured by a star rating

Not true, says Mr Seka, adding some products have no star ratings at all. “This doesn’t mean they don’t offer protection from UVA rays,” he adds. “There are many ways to identify if a product protects against UVA rays, the main one being the UVA symbol circled on the bottle, which shows the product complies with EU recommendations.”

The star rating – where five stars indicates the greatest level of protection against UVA rays – was an initiative introduced by retailers.

5) MYTH – Sun cream doesn’t go out of date

False. Sun cream does have a shelf life and it should be adhered to. If you use out-of-date sunscreen, you won’t be getting the levels of protection you think you are, warns Mr Seka. He advises to keep an eye out for the ‘jar’ logo on bottles, revealing it indicates the number of months the product will last for.

For example, 12M means a sun cream will last for 12 months after it’s been opened. As a general rule, Mr Seka said sunscreen usually lasts between 12 to 24 months. He further adds, ‘This expiry date is based on the product being kept in the recommended conditions, usually a cool place out of direct sunlight. If yours has been kept elsewhere then you need to take this into account. Sun cream can change in texture and colour if it is out of date too so keep your eye out for this too.’sun cream

6) MYTH – You can’t get sunburn in water

Water lures us into a false sense of security where sun care is concerned, Mr Seka warns. It cools us down and takes the edge off the heat from the sun, and can lead some people to think parts of their body immersed in water are protected from the sun’s rays. But this isn’t the case, says Seka. “Water actually reflects UV rays making us more exposed, we just can’t feel it.”

7) MYTH – You can’t catch the sun through the car window

Another common misconception, is the idea that you can’t catch a tan through glass. Many drivers across the world think their car windscreen will protect their skin. But, Dr Almaani says, “This is simply not true. As mentioned previously, UVB rays contain healthy vitamin D, however, these rays can’t penetrate glass unlike the more harmful UVA rays. This means, then, that people tend to age more on the side of their bodies that is often exposed to sunlight and the deeper layers of skin are being harmed.”

“So if you sit near a window at work or drive a lot for your job then make sure you’re using lashings of SPF to protect your skin and prevent premature ageing.”

8) MYTH – Once-a-day sun creams work

“For continued sun protection, it is important to reapply sun cream,” Dr Almaani suggests. “This also applies to water-resistant sun cream and the so-called ‘once-a-day’ preparations, as their efficacy will depend on whether the right amount is applied, to give the protection specified on the bottle.”

“Also sunscreens, particularly chemical absorbers, degrade gradually on sun-exposure with reduced effect and this applies to ‘once daily’ applications.”

In addition, water contact, sweating and rubbing will render the cream less effective and therefore ‘long-wear’ sunscreens can give a false sense of adequate protection with less careful sun protection practices.”e website’s popular slogan goes, “Life is short. Have an affair.” Yes, many lives indeed will be cut short once the names are revealed.