Five Surprising Facts about Sunscreens

July 17, 2019

The most important things to know about sunscreens should be obvious by now. First, make sunscreen routine. And, at its best, this means every day, not just something you do for outdoor recreation. Makeup and moisturizers containing sunscreen are available now, so there’s no excuse for going without, even on a “normal” day. (For men, sunscreen might be the excuse they’re waiting for to begin using a moisturizer at last.)

Another obvious fact is that choosing SPF 50 is more protective than choosing SPF 30. But right there begins the first of the surprising facts we’d like to present here.

More is Not Better – and Other Surprises

Many chemists agree that sunscreens claiming a Sun Protection Factor greater than 50 are probably misleading. You may not have noticed, but there are 61 products claiming to have SPFs of 70 or higher – and 15 are advertised as SPF 100! The FDA finds there is not sufficient data to support that the claim that these give added protection. The problem is that those high numbers may be encouraging people to sun themselves heedlessly. Best to stick with an SPF of 30 to 50 and continue to take care.

The second thing to know is that you’re probably not using enough sunscreen when you go out, and you’re probably not re-applying it often enough. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying an ounce of sunscreen every two hours when you’re outdoors. They even remind us to visualize a shot glass in determining this amount! And we’re encouraged not to take the claims of “Water Resistant,” or “Sport” too seriously. We must remember to re-apply when we get out of the water or towel-off, and every two hours anyway.

Third, there are a couple of seemingly helpful additives that will do you no good in your sunscreen, and we’re encouraged to avoid them. Vitamin A is a good antioxidant, but it doesn’t respond well to sunlight. Vitamin A may trigger development of cancerous skin lesions when combined with sun exposure. Oxybenzone is another ingredient to avoid. It helps filter sunlight, but it is also a hormone disruptor. Instead, look for sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Take a Closer Look

Fourth, did you know your sunscreen has an expiration date? Take a look. And don’t bet your skin on a sunscreen that’s no longer effective. If you discover that your sunscreen has already expired, shop our online store, where you have 19 sunscreens from SPF 25 to SPF 50 to choose from.

Finally, don’t rely entirely on sunscreen for your skin protection. Hats and sleeves are still our best protection when used in concert with sunscreens. And new, sun-protective fabrics are worth having on your side, too.

More to it than you thought? That’s often the case when it comes to skin care, because after all, it’s the body’s largest organ and it’s doing several jobs at once. At Dermatology Consultants, we’re here to be your trusted resource for showing up in the skin you’re proud to wear. Just contact us to get started.


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