5 Sunscreen Myths...BUSTED!
Here are five common misconceptions about sun exposure and sunscreen. Your overall health is important to us, so we're setting the record straight.
MYTH #1: A BASE TAN PROTECTS ME.
FACT: Ingrain this mantra into your head: There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. A. Safe. Tan. A tan is your body's response to UV damage. Your skin increases production of the pigment melanin in an effort to reduce further injury. However, a "base tan" is not a very effective means of decreasing additional damage, it provides protection equivalent to wearing sunscreen with an SPF of about 4.
MYTH #2: IT'S OKAY TO LIE IN THE SUN AS LONG AS I'M WEARING SUNSCREEN.
FACT: The purpose of sunscreen is to reduce UV damage when you're not able to avoid exposure or wear protective clothing. Applying sunscreen to increase the length of time you can sunbathe is an abuse of the product and results in increased rather than decreased UV exposure, especially when it comes to UVA, which is not as effectively blocked by sunscreen as UVB.
MYTH #3: ANYTHING ABOVE SPF 15 IS A WASTE.
FACT: A broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 should be applied daily to exposed skin. Studies show that most people apply less than half the amount of sunscreen needed to attain the labelled SPF, so using a sunscreen with a higher SPF makes a meaningful difference.
MYTH #4: I NEED SUN TO GET ENOUGH VITAMIN D.
FACT: Several studies have shown that wearing sunscreen does not reduce your levels of vitamin D. You need very little UVB exposure to produce adequate levels of vitamin D. In fact, some studies show increased vitamin D levels in those who wear sunscreen most often, probably because they're the ones spending more time outdoors!
MYTH #5: I DON'T NEED TO WEAR SUNSCREEN ON CLOUDY DAYS.
FACT: Cloud cover effectively reduces transmission of infrared radiation, which produces a feeling of warmth on your skin. In contrast, you can't see or feel UV radiation, and cloud cover only decreases UV by about 20%. So make the application of sunscreen a part of your morning routine regardless of the weather forecast!
Please contact us to discuss any skin concerns you may have about sun protection or repairing damage caused by compounded sun exposure. We're happy to create a customized skin care plan for your specific needs.
Our blog is dedicated to all the latest news from Compass Dermatology, a boutique dermatology clinic located in Toronto.
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Toronto, ON M4S 2N5, Canada