4 Sunscreen Myths You Need to Stop Believing

It’s no secret that sunscreen is essential. What does seem to cause some confusion, though, are the many myths and half-truths surrounding this essential beauty product. Which are facts, and which would best be described as complete fiction? Here are four common sunscreen myths you need to stop believing.

 

Myth: You Don’t Need Full Body Coverage

Truth: Many people feel they’re sufficiently protected so long as they slather sunscreen on the face. But sun damage can affect any area of the body, from foreheads to toes, and eventually lead to skin cancer. That’s why it’s so critical to apply sun protection everywhere. Think of the wrinkly hands and aging necks that are often dead giveaways of a person’s true age—they’re also highly indicative of poor sun care habits.

Try: Avene Mineral Light Hydrating Lotion SPF 50+ (Face and Body), $24.99

 

Myth: You Need Sun Exposure for Optimal Vitamin D Levels

Truth: Vitamin D is the “feel good” nutrient all healthy humans need. While the sun helps skin produce vitamin D, it’s not the only source—and certainly not a reason to skimp on sunscreen in an effort to soak up as much D as possible. In fact, that’s counterproductive because your skin only produces so much of the vitamin within a certain time frame before it stops. (Imagine if your skin generated vitamin D during every waking moment spent in the sunlight—it would quickly reach overdosed levels!) Keep wearing that sunscreen, and rely on a combination of supplements, a healthy diet, and brief sunlight exposure to enjoy optimal levels.

Try: Dr. Brandt XYY Power Dose D Sunshine Vitamin for Skin, $30.99

Myth: You Only Need Sunscreen During Peak Hours

Truth: Peak sunlight time is typically defined as 10 am to 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are especially powerful. Naturally, it’s vital to wear sunscreen during these hours, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the day is precluded from harming your skin. Harmful UVA rays are present throughout the day, and can lead to skin damage and some forms of skin cancer. Even cloudy days aren’t enough to protect skin. In fact, those are the days that often produce some of the worst sunburns because people neglect to wear sunscreen altogether. Clouds block only a small percentage of UV rays, meaning that you can still suffer even if you don’t necessarily see or feel the sun.

Try: La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen, $24.99

 

Myth: You Can Wear Any Sunscreen to Prevent UVA and UVB Damage

Truth: Sunscreens that are labeled “broad-spectrum” are the only ones that prevent damage from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are responsible for producing visible signs of aging, including spots, fine lines, and wrinkles, while UVB rays cause sunburns. Both of them can ultimately lead to skin cancer, so it’s best to wear a product that effectively combats them equally.

Try: Elta MD UV Shield Broad-Spectrum SPF 45, $38.89

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