Top 5 reasons why your sunscreen might give you a false sense of security – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

5 May

Ah… summer… we’ve been waiting for you for so long.  T’is the season to go to the beach and enjoy, until you realize one day your skin is hot, red and damaged.  With store shelves filled with masses of high-SPF sunscreen bottles and sprays, how is it that people still end up with serious sun damage year after year?  Here are the top 5 reasons why your sunscreen may give you a false sense of security:

1)   Trusting a high SPF

SPF30 is better than SPF15 but it does NOT give you double the protection.  SPF15 filters out about 93 percent of the UVB rays; SPF30 filters about 97 percent of UVB rays. Once you go above SPF30, the added protection gets even more marginal.  Some dermatologists even suggest not going above an SPF30 because the added skin-irritating chemicals of a higher SPF outweigh the benefits of the added sun protection.

2)      Trusting that SPF is the end-all be-all

SPF only protects from UVB-rays so read labels carefully.  A sunscreen that sports an impressive SPF but contains no UVA-protection in the form of Avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide or Ecamsule (Mexoryl) will not shield your skin from the rays that age your skin, and as we now know, also cause cancer.

3)      Not using enough sunscreen

You need about a 1-ounce shot glass full of sunscreen to properly protect the skin on your body.  If you buy a 4-ounce bottle of sunscreen, the bottle should be empty after 4 applications.  So that person who pours a dime-size into their palms and rubs it all over may feel protected, but really isn’t.

4)      Not re-applying often enough

Heat and humidity in the summer make us sweat more.  All of that perspiring  makes the sunscreen on our skin less effective.  Add to that a dip in the pool or ocean and drying your skin with a towel, and you probably have hardly any sunscreen left on your skin.  Doctors recommend reapplying every 2 hours or after being in the water.

5)      When enough is enough

Once you feel the heat and stinging in your skin, you’re already well on your way to a burn.  No amount of sunscreen can stop that process.  It’s time to just get out of the sun, period.

What are your favorite and most trusted tips and tricks to protect your skin from the sun?

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