More than ever, people are aware of the dangers of too much sun exposure. While this is great news, many people don't know the proper way to protect their skin. Between companies marketing ineffective sun protection methods and sun protection myths floating around online, it can be overwhelming. This is why it is so important to really understand proper and effective sun protection methods.
In this article we aim to educate you on what really works, what doesn't, and what should be used to boost your protection levels.
Some companies will advertise supplements as being able to reduce premature aging, risk of cancer, and sunburns. The Food and Drug Association (FDA) noticed this and called for a press announcement to warn potential customers. Some supplements such as Vitamin B3 have proven to lower the risk of skin cancer. However, they should only be used as compliments instead of replacements. In addition, try to avoid the sun at peak hours, seek shade, and use protective clothing. Most importantly, apply and reapply a broad-spectrum, zinc-based sunscreen.
Your time is up
Sunscreens, whether they are SPF 25 OR SPF 50, effectively protect the skin but only for a maximum of two hours. A lot of people don't realize you have to reapply sunscreen every two hours to maintain adequate protection. Additionally, you may have to reapply even sooner if you have been sweating or swimming. Therefore, carrying a SPF facial mist or powder will make reapplication quick and easy.
Poorly stored sunscreen
The FDA treats sunscreens as drugs and insists on the expiry date for a reason. This is because sunlight and heat easily break down UV-filtering ingredients. Therefore, sunscreen from a last year’s bag or the floor of the car may not protect you from sunburns and related problems. It is recommended that you occasionally check the expiry date, change your bottle from time to time, and store your sunscreen in a cool location or under the towel if you are at the beach.
Beauty products with SPF
Sprinkling SPF into your foundation will only protect your skin from sun rays if you slather on multiple layers. Even then, it still may not be effective. Dermatologist have warned that SPF beauty products are not an adequate replacement for dedicated sunscreen. Bottom line, do not trust the SPF in your makeup to cut it! It's best to apply a quarter-sized amount of broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face every morning before applying makeup. Afterwards, reapply every two hours.
Long hair, your skin don't care
One of the most common sun protection myths is that your hair is enough to keep you safe from sunburns and other sun problems. While your hair can offer partial protection, exposed areas like the ears are left vulnerable to cancer. In fact, several dermatologists have testified to treating melanoma and other cancers around such places. Try using a broad-brimmed and tightly woven hat in addition to sunscreen.
Your windshield is just that
Being in a car does not keep you safe from skin damage caused by the sun. A 2010 study by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology suggests that exposure to ultraviolet rays inside the car could be why most Americans develop skin cancers on the left. It is advised that you wear sunscreen inside and outside your car.
"Our initial findings confirm that there is a correlation between more time spent driving and a higher incidence of left-sided skin cancers, especially on sun-exposed areas in men," -St. Louis University researcher Scott Fosko, MD
All the products and practices mentioned above are most effective when used as compliments rather than replacements to sunscreens. Remember that the best sunscreen is the one you'll use everyday! With this in mind, it's important to choose a sun protection method that suits your lifestyle while still being effective.