We all know (or should know) how important applying sunscreen is, especially during the summer time. It prevents premature aging and reduces your risk of skin cancer. But, is the higher the SPF the better? Not necessarily. In the past, many companies got away with for years trying to market SPF’s higher than 50 (SPF 80, 90, & 100!) But what is SPF… really? SPF refers to the extent to which a sunscreen is able to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. In general, SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. And no, an “SPF 100” will NOT block 100% of the UV rays, contrary to popular belief. In general, any sunscreen claiming more than 50, is very much an exaggeration.
SPF is not needed during the winter or cloudy/rainy days.
Myth. Your skin needs protection anytime you are out and about, no matter the weather. The suns’ rays do not discriminate. Your skin can suffer the damages through your car window too.
Any sunscreen will do.
Myth. Not all sunscreens are created equally. Make sure the sunscreen you are purchasing reads “broad spectrum,” which really means it is protecting your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Also, some of the more affordable sunscreens are made with potentially toxic chemicals such as oxybenzone, which can have terrible side effects.
Water proof sunscreen allows me to be in the water all day, without reapplying.
Myth. There is actually no such thing as “waterproof sunscreen,” in accordance to the new FDA regulations. There is really only “water-resistant” sunscreens, which still need to be reapplied every 60 minutes or so.
I have natural dark complexion, so I can get away with no sunscreen.
Myth. Although darker complexions are less likely to acquire skin conditions due to the sun, they are still vulnerable to hyper-pigmentation (dark spots) which can be prevented by wearing sunscreen.
Which One Should I Purchase?
Aside from mindlessly purchasing any SPF greater than 50, it really is up to you. It is often recommended for individuals to use anything from SPF 30 to SPF 50. However, it must be noted, that regardless of the SPF you choose, it should be applied LIBERALLY, and by liberally we mean GENEROUSLY. Seriously. Keep in mind the texture of the SPF you purchase, unless you don’t mind the thick sunscreens, which can potentially clog your pores.