It’s that time of year again when we’re finally able to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. If your plan is to dig out old bottles of sunscreen from last summer, prompted solely by the season, we’ve got some news for you: you are late to the game and in desperate need of some expert sunscreen advice!
Here are some common sunscreen myths and the truth that can help you achieve youthful, healthy skin for the long-term while, most importantly, reducing your risk of skin cancer.
Myth #1: You only need to apply sunscreen in the summer.
Yes, the sun is strongest in the summer months, but harmful UVA and UVB rays can still damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer all year round. Even when the weather is cold, it’s still important to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. Protecting your skin from the sun all year will not only lower your risk of skin cancer but will also help your skin look younger for longer! This is because only about 10% of skin aging is caused by time and genetics, while 90% is actually caused by sun damage over time. That’s great news because it means that YOU actually have a lot of control over your skin’s health and appearance! Just remember to make sunscreen application part of your daily skincare routine.
Myth #2: You only need to apply sunscreen when you’re in direct sunlight.
This is definitely one piece of “advice” we likely all heard when growing up. While it’s still important to apply and reapply sunscreen during long days at the beach or just out in the sun, it is actually important to protect your skin even when it’s cloudy outside, or when you’re sitting indoors or in a car. This is because damaging UVA and UVB rays are not completely blocked by clouds or the glass used in typical car or building windows.
In addition to sunscreen, other helpful ways to protect your skin include staying in the shade as much as possible when outdoors and wearing long sleeves, pants and hats for better coverage.
Myth #3: You only need to apply sunscreen if you burn easily.
No one is immune to the skin damage and increased risk of skin cancer that comes from UVA and UVB exposure, even if you have a darker skin tone or your skin just tans instead of burns. To put it simply: Any sun exposure, regardless of your skin type, is harmful exposure. Those who burn easily may be most aware of their sun exposure and feel the greatest motivation to prevent it — because no one enjoys a painful sunburn! — but everyone’s skin is damaged by the sun.
If sunscreen isn’t part of your daily routine, it’s never too late to start protecting your skin and lowering your risk of skin cancer. If you need more incentive, daily sunscreen application is also clinically proven to enhance the look and feel of your skin, helping you maintain a youthful glow for the long term.