Discussing and exchanging knowledge is a great thing. In our modern society, we have so many ways of obtaining and sharing information. However, this is also the easiest way for misinformation to spread. This includes information about sun protection.
There are many ways to protect our body, especially our skin, from the harmful UV rays of the sun. But, is what you’re doing sufficient, and is it even correct?
We’re here to help! Here we debunk 6 of the most common sun protection misconceptions, helping you to protect your skin from sun damage and skin cancer.
6 Common Sun Protection Misconceptions
1. Not Applying Enough Sunscreen, and Not Reapplying It
Medical physicians & dermatologists strongly recommend daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB. If the complete body is exposed to the sun, the recommended quantity for adults to create an effective sun barrier is nearly 7 teaspoons.
A one-time sunscreen application is never enough for you to stay well protected in the sun for an extended period of time. Therefore, sunscreen should be re-applied every two hours, especially after an outdoor activity, swimming or even after you dry yourself with a towel.
2. Solely Using Sunscreen to Prevent Skin Damage
While applying sunscreen is an important step towards sun protection, it is just the first line of defence against the harmful UV rays from the sun. When out in the sun, make sure to cover your body with UV-protective clothing, wear a wide-brimmed hat, UV-protective sunglasses and find shade wherever possible.
3. Believing Normal Clothing Offers Same Protection as UPF 50+ Clothing
Many people have no idea that normal summer clothing, such as a lightweight cotton tee, may only have a UPF of 5. This leaves their skin at risk of sun-induced damage.
Clothing with certified UPF 50+ blocks nearly 98% of both UVA and UVB rays and allows only 2% of the rays to reach the upper surface of your garment and penetrate through it. Sun protective garments, hats and other accessories are the recommended defensive measures from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
4. Only Being Cautious on Hot Days
Most people think that sun protection is not required on cool or cloudy days. It is important to remember that sun damage is caused by UV rays and 90% of it can easily pass through clouds. Regardless of the climate or weather, it is important to give your skin the required sun protection 365 days a year.
5. Avoiding Sun Protection to Get More Vitamin D
You only need a few minutes of sun exposure to get the required daily dose of vitamin D. This means, unnecessary exposure to the sun does no good, but could lead to skin damage.
6. Believing that Tanning Doesn’t Cause Skin Damage
Many believe that tanning doesn’t cause any harm to our body. In fact, tanning is a sign of sun damage and “healthy” tanning is a misnomer. With time, UV-induced damage tends to build up, leading to skin discolouration and premature wrinkles that increase the risk of skin cancer.
Now that your sun protection misconceptions are cleared up, you are in a better position to protect your skin. While applying sunscreen multiple times a day is an essential sun protection step, using UPF 50+ sun protective clothing, UV arm sleeves, sun umbrellas and broad-brim hats are very important measures to ensure complete protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.
For more information, be sure to check out our blog post on All You Need to Know About UV Protective Clothing.