We all assume certain things since we were children. Many were taught by our parents and teachers while others have been learned by word-of-mouth from friends or siblings. One of the first ones that comes to mind is the SPF factors of Sun Creams. I remember the tale that the SPF number indicated the number of hours you could stay in the sun without fear of burning. Therefore, the only cream you needed was one with a SPF of 8 for a full day in the sun. So, I still remember thinking when I saw a bottle of Coppertone SPF 30 – what would anyone need 30 hours of sun protection for in a day?
Let’s get through some other myths about your sun protection and what today’s science tells us we should be doing.
1 – SPF numbers, while being a relative factor of a sun cream, cannot be judged mathematically. Recent scientific test confirms a SPF of higher than 50 only provide about 2% more protection than one in the 25-30 SPF range. This then totally negates any reason to use one of the new creams marketed with a SPF 90-100.
2 – All sun creams regardless of their SPF factor need to be reapplied every 90 minutes, especially if your swimming or play sports that cause you to sweat.
3 – Be sure whichever sun cream use, regardless of its stated SPF, be sure it protects against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
4 – While a tan may make you look healthier, keep in mind tanned skin is scarred skin. There is risk of skin cancers with each tanning session.
5 – The myth of indoor tanning being safer was debunked by the American Academy of Dermatology with a study done in 2014. That proved that the possibility of developing melanoma significantly increased after 10 indoor tanning sessions.
6 – Cream with physical blocking ingredients – such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide – reflect the rays of the sun away from your skin.
The take-away is this: Use a sun cream whenever you out in the sun, apply it frequently, wear wide brimmed hats, and don’t forget your lips. To be safest, just stay out of the sun between 10 am and 3 pm.