The cardinal rule of skin care is:
SUNSCREEN IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF A HEALTHY SKINCARE ROUTINE.
But when summer rolls around, you may consider skipping the sunscreen in favour of achieving a tan. There are some common myths and misconceptions surrounding sunscreens that that make me cringe. Understanding the truth about sunscreen can help people use sunscreen correctly.
- IT IS BETTER TO GET A BASE TAN BEFORE HOLIDAY – There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. A. Safe. Base. Tan. A tan is literally your body’s response to being injured by UV exposure. When your cells are exposed to UV light, they produce more melanin, the pigment that colours your skin, which is why you tan. But this is a sign that damage has already been done, not protection against future sun exposure. In fact, a “base tan” provides the SPF equivalent of about a 4.
- TANING BEDS PROVIDE A PROTECTIVE BASE TAN- Some people believe that they should use tanning beds to get a quick tan before summer comes, or before exposing themselves to a lot of sun, such as when on vacation. Tanning beds use high concentrations of UVA light to darken the skin quickly, whereas the sun includes both UVA and UVB light. Exposing the body to high levels of UVA light from a tanning bed creates a temporary tan that will do very little to protect the skin from sun exposure and sunburns caused by UVB light.
- YOU CANNOT TAN WHILE WEARINF SUNSCREEN- Of course you can still get a tan while wearing sunscreen. Simply put, the SPF number is a measure of how long your skin can be in direct sunlight without beginning to get red or sunburn. Side note: SPF only measures protection from UVB rays, the type that causes the skin to burn, and not UVA rays, the type that age the skin with over-exposure.
- ONE APLICATION OF SUNSCREEN LASTS ALL DAY- Many people think that sunscreen will last all day after just one application. In reality, sunscreen breaks down in the light and loses its effectiveness over a short period of time. You should apply sunscreen every 2 to 4 hours, at least.
AND MY FAVOURITE MYTH IS…
5. SUNSCREEN WILL PREVENT THE BODY FROM ABSORBING VITAMIN D- VITAMIN D is a vital nutrient for human health, and the body makes it easily through exposure to UV rays. Sunscreen, however, blocks UV rays. So, in theory, using sunscreen 100 percent of the time would prevent a person from getting the proper levels of Vitamin D.
This is a common misconception. First, most people don’t apply sunscreen well enough to prevent skin from producing vitamin D. Second, you need much less time in the sun to make adequate levels than you might think. If your skin just kept making vitamin D in response to sunlight, it would reach toxic levels, explains Day. After 15 minutes or so, the system overloads and production stops. Being tan isn’t a good indicator of healthy vitamin D levels.
You can get enough vitamin D from a mix of diet, supplements, and incidental sun exposure.
Understanding the truth about these myths can help people use sunscreen effectively.
Instructions for each sunscreen can vary, and people should follow the instructions on the packaging for maximum protection. Proper use of sunscreen can help guard against skin damage and sunburn.