4 Sunscreen Myths Busted!

I have already talked about a few sunscreen myths here, here and here but there seem to be so many misconceptions about this essential product that I thought it was important to set the record straight on a few more. After all, not knowing enough about sunscreen and when to apply them, can cause a lot of harm to our skin. So, let’s get started:

1. I already have a “base tan” so I don’t need to wear sunscreen

First of all, there is no such thing as a healthy tan. A tan, whether you got it from sun exposure or a tanning bed, is a sign that your skin is damaged and it is absolutely not a substitute for sunscreen. While it is true that a tan may give your skin a tiny little bit more protection from burning, your skin can still burn. And in any case, that won’t protect you from all the damage (like premature aging and cancer) the sun can do to your skin. So, always, always, wear sunscreen, even if you already have a tan.

2. If I stay in the shade, sunscreen is not necessary

Again, this is false. Although you should always seek the shade whenever possible (or wear a hat or even use an umbrella), you still need to wear sunscreen. That’s because shades don’t completely block all the sun rays, leaving your skin exposed to damage if not properly protected.

3. SPF 30 is twice as strong as SPF 15

I wish! While I think it is very important to wear a high protection factor every day, especially when you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, the truth is, that there really isn’t that much difference between SPF 15 and SPF 30. A sunscreen with SPF 15 can block out about 93% of the sun rays while one with SPF 30 about 97%. Higher factors can block out about 98% or 99%, but the assumption that the protection provided is proportionally increased by higher SPF factors is wrong. And most expert think that SPF 15 is enough for daily wear, although I personally think that if you’re going to the beach or spending a lot of time outdoors, it’s best to use at least SPF 30.

4. Sunscreens block out all UV rays

Again all I can say is, I wish! The truth is that no sunscreen, not even those labelled SPF 100, can completely block out all UV rays. Some can block out 97% or 98%, like we’ve seen above, but there always is a small percentage of rays that won’t be blocked out. In addition, there are lots of sunscreens on the market that protect only from UVB and not UVA rays. These offer only partial protection and should be avoided so be sure to check the label carefully before purchasing.

Do you know any other sunscreen myths you’d like to bust?

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    • beautifulwithbrains says

      LaDamaBianca, il tempo ├Ę brutto anche qui, praticamente la primavera quest’anno non c’├Ę stata. Speriamo almeno che l’esyaye arrivi presto. :)

  1. says

    No other myths, but some sunscreens really aren’t that water resistant. I can wash some off with plain water and some rubbing. I learned today that ethers have a sweet fruity smells, aldehydes have floral smells, and amines have fishy smells.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Janessa, that is so true! It is always best to reapply sunscreen after you’ve been in the water. :)

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Makeup Morsels, I agree. Everyone needs to wear sunscreen daily, even teenagers and children. The sun rays can harm them just like they harm everyone else.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      PrettyKitty, I’m afraid that’s not true. All the dermatologists I’ve talked to agree that all the Vitamin D our body needs can be obtain through a healthy, balanced diet. Not using sunscreen will only make you age sooner, develop fine lines, wrinkles and sun spots at a younger age and increase your chance of getting skin cancer. In other words, it’s not worth it when you can have the same benefits by eating properly.

  2. PrettyKitty says

    Okay there now it works. So back to the topic, sunscreen gets into your blood stream, blocksout your vitamin D and can cause cancer. Even when I was little my mom rarely made us use sunscreen because she wanted me and my brother to get vitamin D.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      PrettyKitty, I’m glad it works now. And I don’t mean to offend. I don’t know where you’re getting your information from but it’s wrong. Sunscreens don’t get into your blood stream. The purpose of skin is to keep things OUT of the body and it does an excellent job at that. Contrary to popular opinion, very few ingredients can actually penetrate inside the body and these are strictly regulated.

      Sunscreens DON’T cause cancer either. The EWG issued a report that some ingredients in sunscreen can cause cancer but as always series scientists refuted it. Unfortunately the EWG gets a lot of press, while real science doesn’t, which leads people to believe that cosmetics are toxic and dangerous when that’s not true at all. What’s dangerous is NOT wearing sunscreen.

      UV rays cause cancer. That’s a fact. If you don’t use sunscreen, how can you protect yourself from them? I really beg you to reconsider because you’re putting your health at risk unnecessarily. Vitamin D is important, but many foods contain it. There is no need to get it through the sun if you eat a healthy diet.

  3. PrettyKitty says

    Yes, you can it through food’s but you need it through the main source- sun. I rarely wear sunscreen and I have got sunburn once in my entire life. Btw you didnt offend me. Sunscreen chemicals are so toxic and weird no one really knows what they are. I have a sunscreen of 30 and I only wear it on really hot days because you need sunshine. In ancient times they didnt have sunscreen and they didnt always get sunburn. Not getting sunlight can give you ricketts.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      PrettyKitty, it’s true you need Vitamin D (it’s lack of it that causes rickets, not lack of sunlight), but it doesn’t matter where you get it from. All it matters is that you get the dose your body needs and if there is a safer way to get it (ie through food), wouldn’t that be better? I’d been avoiding the sun like the plague for years, always wear sunscreen and get my Vitamin D through food and I’m perfectly healthy.

      I don’t know where you get your information about toxic sunscreen ingredients from but that’s not true. Ingredients in any of your cosmetics aren’t toxic. If they were, people would be dying left, right and center, instead no one has yet died for using sunscreen. Because it’s not dangerous. Instead a lot of people have died from skin cancer, because of unprotected sun exposure. As I said, organizations like the EWG and natural cosmetic companies like to make people believe that cosmetics are toxic to further their own ends. Often journalists don’t know enough about science to realise these people are lying to make money and so help them spread their lies. But real scientists say there’s nothing to worry about.

      If you’re still worried about sunscreen chemicals then you can use sunscreen with either or both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. These are minerals, so are natural, provide a protective barrier on top of the skin so don’t penetrate inside it, and offer excellent protection. And yes, people did get sunburn in the past, but just because you don’t get a sunburn all the time, it doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t hurting you. The tan the people love so much is a symptom that your body is damaged. It’s its way of telling you, get away from the sun.

      • PrettyKitty says

        Vitamin D comes from the sun, so when sunlight comes down it is like showering you with Vitamin D. You can get it from food but loads of vitamin D come from the sun.

        Cosmetics arn’t toxic and people know what the ingredients are in there. However, sunscreen is a different story. For a exzample lotion sinks into your skin and doesn’t get into your blood stream, most lotions contain cocoa butter, glycerin etc while nobody knows what the heck is in sunscreen. Sunscreen literally bakes into your skin and blocks out all sunlight it can.

        People didnt have sunscreen in the past and if you know your history you would know there weren’t alot of cases of ricketts because people went out in the sun more freely then people today. Also, getting a tan isn’t your body telling you to get away from the sun it means you have been outside alot getting sun which is wonderful for you and your body. Getting a nasty red sunburn means you need to be a little more careful. Sometimes you do need sunscreen but really only on scorching hot days it’s needed.

        Skin cancer has actually gone up since people started getting obssessed about sunscreen and thinking the sun is some kind of demon. I’m sure some people got sunburn in the past but everyone has got sunscreen at least once. So anyway I typed in EWG and they are in love with sunscreen and getting away from sun. People are starting to believe this because Dermatolgists say its true and the Media says its true. When it isnt, the sun is delightful on your body and makes you feel good because it is healthy for you!

        • beautifulwithbrains says

          PrettyKitty, I don’t who is feeding you this crap, but that’s what it is, crap. And it’s putting your health at risk. Sorry to be blunt but I’m really sad to see a reader who doesn’t realise how deadly the sun can be. UV rays have been identified as a PROVEN carcinogen both by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization. The sun kills. It’s a fact.

          As I said before, the sun is only ONE source of Vitamin D, you can get it through food. I’ve always gotten it through food and never got rickets. People need Vitamin D, but it doesn’t matter where you get it from. Vitamin D is the same substance and performs the same whether you ingest it through food or get it from the sun. Only the latter may kill you.

          Of course people know what’s in sunscreens. Sunscreens contain the exact same ingredients as other cosmetics such as glycerin etc, with the addition of sunscreen agents. These sunscreen agents have been studied for years before they were given approval to be used. Have a look at cosmeticsinfo.org and look for them. You’ll find all the info you need on them. If you’re not comfortable with using chemical sunscreen agents like Avobenzone though, you can use Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. These are minerals that naturally occur, and are very gentle.

          And of course that sunscreens block out all the sunlight! That’s their job! Sunscreens, to work, need to stay on top of the skin so the sun rays can be reflected away or transformed into a lesser damaging form of heat. If sunscreen agents penetrated the body, then they wouldn’t be able to perform these functions.

          UV rays damage DNA. To protect itself, our body produces melanin, which will make skin darker. It’s our in-built form of sunscreen. Tan skin is damaged skin and damaged skin can cause cancer. The more sun you get, the more damaged your skin, the more chances these damaged cells will turn into cancer. So yes, a tan is your body’s way of telling you, get out of the sun NOW. There is no such thing as a healthy tan, unless you get it from a bottle.

          Yes, I know history. It’s one of my fave subjects and I’ve studied it for decades. Actually, people got rickets more in the past. People are still getting rickets in poorer countries like those in Africa and they are getting a lot of sun out there so, if you what you believed was true, rickets is a disease that should never have appeared there. Instead, lots of people, especially children, are suffering (and were suffering in the past) from it and the cause is a very poor diet. Poor people, then and now, never had much to eat which causes all sorts of illnesses including rickets. They are exposed to the sun, but that doesn’t stop them from developing this illness.

          Skin cancer has gone up in the past few years because people now live longer. People were considered old at 50, now they can easily live well into their 80s and longer. As we know, although you can get cancer at any age, the chances of developing it go up as you grow older. In the past, people didn’t have the time to die of skin cancer. Something else killed them off before this illness had time to develop. In addition, a tan back then was a sign of poverty. Those who could, like the rich, avoided the sun like the plague. They spent very little time in the sun and usually carried a parasol. Not to mention their clothes. Even poorer people wore clothes that covered almost their entire body. I’m sure those poor farmers who worked in the fields all day would have taken them off, but there were still a lot of people, especially women, who didn’t and worked in the sun fully clothed, and that’s a protection from the sun too. People have started sunbathing for fun only in the past century and it took even longer for swimsuits to get as small as they are now. And since they started doing that, skin cancer has gone up.

          I mentioned the EWG because they released a report saying some ingredients in sunscreens were dangerous, when they’re not. And they do love sunscreens, but only the ones they sell. And if all dermatologists are recommending to stay away from the sun, then there must be a reason. They’re doctors, they’ve been studying these things for decades. What makes you think that you know more about the sun than a professional? Have you got scientific proof to back up your claims? Dermatologists do. They see a lot of people with skin cancer these days, they have seen a link between it and sun exposure, done studies on that and found out that yes the sun is deadly and are so recommending people to wear sunscreen. I’m sorry I can’t convince you the sun is not healthy as that’s only gonna cause problems for you in the future and I don’t really want that. I’m just worried for you.

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