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Debunking three common sunscreen myths

By Georgia Seago
17th February 2022

Here are three myths about sunscreen use that many people believe to be true:

1. You only need it in the summer

No, you need it all year round. Collagen-damaging UVA rays are present in daylight all year round, even in the UK. You can check the daily UV index where you live online or in your weather app on your smartphone. If it’s over 3 the sun is strong enough to cause damage and you should be wearing sunscreen. Even if it’s lower, many modern sunscreen formulations contain ingredients to protect the skin against other external ageing factors, such as pollution and high-energy blue light (HEV) – the type admitted from our smartphones and laptop screens. So, if your daily routine involves exposure to either of these, you know what you need to do.

2. Darker skins don’t need sunscreen

They really do, because they are prone to hyperpigmentation and dark marks – which again, can be picked up from UV light in daylight – even more than pale skins. Any existing pigmentation is exacerbated by the sun. A 2017 study found that Black people in the States were four times more likely to present with advanced-stage IV melanoma – the deadliest type of skin cancer – than Caucasians, partly because it is often detected too late. Therefore, the study indicates that the mortality rate from melanoma is 1.5 times higher among the Black population.

Debunking three sunscreen myths

3. You’ve got SPF in your makeup, so you don’t need sunscreen

You guessed it; you do. Because when sunscreens are tested to make sure they do their job at protecting skin, they are tested on thick applications of the product. So, unless you wear your make-up in a super-thick layer – not even Instagram influencers wear their makeup, that thick – you just won’t be getting the same protection as you would with a dedicated sunscreen underneath. Plus, the SPF rating in many foundations with built-in sun protection simply isn’t high enough – you want to be using SPF30 and up.

There’s a reason I bang on about proper use of sunscreen so much. It’s the single most effective thing – apart from not smoking – that you can do to prevent the visible signs of skin ageing. So please, just wear some. Every day.

Find a high-quality sunscreen from this selection of my favourites and read more about the effects of sun damage on the skin and how to avoid it here.

 

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