Block the Rays, Protect Your Days

Be Kind to Your Skin
Discover 10 Sun Safety Misconceptions

Wait… did someone say summer?

Yes! The summer season is right around the corner and many of us look forward to enjoying the warm weather and outdoor activities associated with SUMMER! Whether it’s lounging on the beach, hiking in the mountains, or simply enjoying a backyard barbecue with friends and family, there’s something about summer that brings out the kid in all of us. While spending time outdoors can be great for our mental and physical health, it’s crucial to take steps to be kind to our skin!

Let’s explore some misconceptions, essential tips, and tricks to help you stay safe and sun-protected during the summer months, so you can make the most of your time outdoors without compromising your health.

#1: You think all sunscreen is the same… NOT REALLY.

With thousands of sunscreen options, how do you know what to choose? In 2019, the FDA called into question the safety and effectiveness of most chemical sunscreen ingredients. Experts now recommend physical sunscreen ingredients, also called mineral sunscreens, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Physical sunscreen ingredients work like a reflective barrier, scattering UV rays before they penetrate your skin. How cool!

#2: You wear sunscreen only on sunny days… OH NO!

Did you know that even when it’s cloudy 80% of the sun’s rays can reach your skin? You can also get a sunburn when it’s cold. Plus, some health conditions, medications, and skincare products can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. It’s important to be aware.

#3: You don’t need sunscreen because of your skin color… INCORRECT

Whatever shade your skin is, you need to protect it! All skin colors can get wrinkles, freckles, and skin cancer from UV rays.

#4: You don’t put on sunscreen until you’re outside… UH OH

It takes time for sunscreen to start working. So, sit back and relax for about 15 minutes and make some ice-cold lemonade with the kiddos as they anxiously wait for their moment to dominate the slip and slide! Always remember to reapply, about every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

#5: You use sunscreen that’s left over from last year… YIKES!

Did you know that sunscreen has an expiration date? Be sure to check your bottles – even having year-old sunscreen is less effective and may be a sign that you aren’t using enough of it. Most people use only half as much as they should. New research suggests that many people apply sunscreen too thinly, which can result in less sun protection than expected. OOF! The researchers suggest using sunscreens with a higher SPF and reapplying often to ensure adequate protection from the sun. Let’s do BETTER!

#6: You rely on sunscreen and SPF in your makeup or moisturizer… NOT QUITE

If you wear makeup or moisturizer with SPF, keep reading. The SPF in beauty products is better than nothing, but it’s only in the 15 to 20 SPF range (not enough to protect you on a day in the sun). Plus, you don’t put on as much makeup as you do sunscreen. Sunscreen is most effective when applied directly to clean skin, so make sure to put on sunscreen before you apply makeup.

#7: You don’t use broad-spectrum sunscreen… WHAT?

Make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB! UVA rays have a longer wavelength and go deeper into your skin, causing a suntan. That’s an early sign of skin damage. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn. If you’ve had five or more sunburns, you double your risk of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer). About 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime, and there is estimated to be around 99,780 new cases of melanoma just this year. Prevention is key!

#8: You choose an SPF that’s too low… THIS ISN’T LIMBO

An SPF of 30 doesn’t mean you can stay in the sun 30 times as long. Instead, it’s a way to compare one sunscreen to another. Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 gives you more protection than one with an SPF of 15. But even the highest SPF won’t block all UVBs. For example, SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 filters out about 97%. SPF 50 blocks about 98%, and SPF 100 about 99%.

#9: You stay in the shade to avoid a burn… GOOD, BUT NOT PERFECT

Shade from an umbrella, hat, or shirt can help to protect you, but be aware that sand, water, glass, and concrete can reflect UV radiation.

#10: You skip some important body parts… WAIT, WHERE?

EVERYWHERE! It’s important to use sunscreen on every bit of skin that might be exposed to the sun. That can be tough. Don’t forget your ears, hands, scalp, and even the bottom of your feet!

Now that you’re ready for a sun safe summer, grab your beach towels, have fun, and don’t forget to reapply that sunscreen every few hours (and maybe invest in a cute beach umbrella while you’re at it). Have a healthy and kind summer!

Published on April 26, 2023

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