It’s the summer and you look out the window, see the sun shining and think to yourself, “what a gorgeous day to take a walk and enjoy my iced coffee on the patio”. Without hesitation, you grab your sandals and your bag. “It’s only 10 a.m., I don’t need sunscreen”, you think to yourself. Right before heading out the door, you stop for a second and wonder if you should bring you hat. It’s a bit cloudier than usual, so you decide against it, not remembering the risk that lies ahead.
To help you make your next trip to the outdoors a safer one, we’re here to debunk some of the common myths you may have heard about sun safety so you can sun safely this summer:
I don’t need a moisturizer with SPF
Dermatologists will tell you that one of the most important products you’ll need for healthy skin, is a moisturizer that contains SPF. That’s because even though we can’t see them, UV rays are consistently hitting the surface of our skin. UV exposure can cause premature aging and sun damage, so by wearing a moisturizer with SPF, not only will you be giving your skin the TLC it needs to stay hydrated, you can ensure that you’re giving your skin the extra protection it needs from the sun.
If my sunscreen contains a high SPF, I only need to apply it once
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is an indication of how long you can stay out in the sun before getting a sunburn. A higher SPF doesn’t mean you don’t have to reapply. For example, if your skin normally starts to turn red within 10 minutes of staying out in the sun, a 15 SPF means you can stay outdoors 15 times longer, so around 150 minutes. Then, you have to reapply. It’s also extremely important to reapply after sweating, swimming, or if you think that the sunscreen has been wiped off.
A tan is safe, but only a sunburn is dangerous
Your skin becomes tanned when skin cells known as melanocytes are exposed to UV rays which produce melanin, a component that determines the skin’s colour. Although melanin helps protect the skin from burning (which is why individuals with different skin tones are either more or less prone to sunburns), a tan is still an indication that UV rays have reached the skin and have caused some degree of UV damage – with a sunburn being the most severe type of damage. Although a golden tan can be considered somewhat of a summer must-have for some, remember that no tan is a safe tan.
You don’t have to worry about sun damage on cold or cloudy days
Too cloudy to need to wear SPF, right? Wrong. Just because you can’t see the sun, it doesn’t mean UVA rays aren’t strong enough to reach you. You can still get sunburn and sun damage even when your skin is unprotected on those cloudy days. So it’s important that you cover up with a hat and sunglasses and apply an SPF even when you think the UV index is low.
Vitamin D can still be absorbed through sunscreen
Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients your body needs to help aid in the maintenance of healthy bones and strengthen the immune system, but exposure to the sun’s UVB rays is one of the only ways to obtain it. On the flip side, while regular use of sunscreen is crucial in the prevention of sunburns and harmful UV exposure, it blocks our body’s ability to use the sunlight to produce the vitamin D it needs. Supplementation ensures continuous protection from the sun while eliminating the risk of a vitamin D deficiency.