It’s swimming pool season and that means it’s time for sunscreen. Here are some facts and myths you should know!
With the sun already warming our pools, it’s time to talk safety inside and outside the pool. With research and information changing over time, it’s hard to know how to best protect your skin from the sun. There are varying opinions on how much sunscreen is enough, how often you need to reapply, and what SPF you actually need. Don’t worry, we’ve done the research for you! Find out what falls under fact or fiction when it comes to sun protection.
Having a base tan or dark skin means you don’t need sunscreen.
Myth! To understand why let’s examine what tanning really does to your skin. When your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays, your immune system jumps into action and sends enzymes to repair the damage. While it’s doing these repairs, it tries to defend you from further damage by putting darker pigments in place. The damage caused by UV rays actually affects the DNA of your skin and can never be completely fixed. That “healthy glow” you think you’ve got is actually unhealthy permanent damage! Even if you have naturally darker skin, sun exposure still does permanent skin damage. Though your risk of skin cancer may be lower, it is also generally diagnosed later because of that lower risk. By the time it’s diagnosed, it can be harder to treat. So, don’t skimp out on the sunscreen just because you think you’re not at risk!
Higher SPF’s mean more protection.
This one is tricky because it is both fact and myth. SPF 15 to 50 can provide you with varying levels of protection, but the main variant is in how much and how often you apply. For most of us, using an SPF 50 is really only giving us the protection of SPF 20 because we tend to underapply sunscreen. SPF over 50 can give you a false sense of security and lead you to believe that you can stay out in the sun safely for a longer period of time. The best practice is to apply thoroughly and often.
SPF rating generally refers to the number of UVB rays potentially blocked by the sunscreen, which really means the amount of redness your skin is protected from. UVB rays are the ones associated with sunburn and non-melanoma skin cancer. Different chemicals are needed to protect your skin from UVA rays and are not always factored into the SPF rating. UVA ray exposure can suppress your immune system and increase your risk of developing melanoma.
My sunscreen is waterproof.
This is another myth! Sunscreens used to be labeled as “waterproof,” but using that term on sunscreen has been banned by the FDA. They can be labeled as “water-resistant,” but the length of time you are protected must be listed. This time is usually 40 or 80 minutes. In order for you to get the most protection, be sure to apply your sunscreen 10-15 minutes before you jump in. You will still need to reapply when you get out of the water, even if it’s in less time than the label advises.
Sunscreen blocks you from getting Vitamin D.
You guessed it, a myth! Many of us have been led to believe that the sun is the only source of vitamin D. The truth is, the sun is just one of many sources. You can find Vitamin D in foods like milk, orange juice, eggs, and fatty fish. You can also take vitamin D supplements if none of those foods appeal to you. As we learned before, most people do not apply enough sunscreen for proper protection, which means they’re not putting on enough sunscreen to stop the body from making vitamin D. It only takes a short time in the sun before your body overloads and stops producing vitamin D, so make sure you are fully protected before you go out.
Now go slather on that SPF and escape to your backyard!
Originally posted by Positively Osceola.