Dermatologists Sun Safety Myths

There are many sun safety myths circulating the web. Check out some of the most popular myths and get to the truth on how to stay safe in the sun.

One of the best parts about spring and summer is soaking in the sun. Unfortunately, getting sunburned is one of the dangers of spending too much time outside. One in three people gets overexposed to UV rays each year. 

Everyone is at risk of getting skin cancer or sunburn. It doesn't matter your skin type, color, or age. While knowing how to protect your skin is essential, there are a lot of sun safety myths out there that might confuse you. 

This guide will discuss the top dermatologist sun safety myths you should know about. Learn how to protect yourself and your family from sun exposure that could cause sunburns or other conditions. 

Myth: Higher SPF Sunscreens Give More Protection 

People think sunscreens with an SPF above 100 provide around triple the protection of an SPF of 30. SPF 30 sunscreen blocks around 97% of UV rays. Higher SPFs are more expensive and can only block one to two percent more. 

Just because sunscreen has a high SPF doesn't mean it'll protect you 100%. Higher SPF sunscreens also won't protect you for longer lengths of time. The same time duration applies for high and low SPFs, usually around two hours. 

Myth: Clothes Can Prevent Sunburn 

The clothing you wear makes a difference in sun protection. Brighter and darker colors tend to absorb more UV rays. You'll get more protection than pastel or white shades. 

Denser and heavier fabrics that have a tight weave protect against sun exposure more than lightweight and thin fabrics. 

For example, a white t-shirt won't help you much against UV rays. It becomes less helpful when it's wet. 

There are a lot of new fabrics that have UPF designations on their labels. The UPF designation tells you how much of the sun's UV rays can penetrate the fabric. 

Look out for clothes that have a UPF of 30-49. UPF above 50 is thought to be the best kind that you can wear. 

You'll also want to cover as much of your exposed skin as you can. Some of the clothing items you should wear include:

  • Pants
  • High-necked shirt with long sleeves
  • Hats with a wide brim
  • UV-filtered sunglasses

Myth: Clouds Stop You From Getting Sunburned

A lot of people think that an overcast day will provide them with protection from the sun. This is especially true for people who go skiing or snowboarding in the winter.

You could think that because it's a cloudy day that you can't get sunburned on the snow. UV rays can reflect off of the snow, increasing your chances of getting sunburned. Sand and water can also reflect the sun's rays in the same manner. 

90% of UV rays can penetrate through clouds and hit your skin. You won't feel the heat of the sun as much, which might make you not put on sunscreen or fail to reapply it. Keep applying your sunscreen when you're outside, even if there's cloud cover. 

Myth: You'll Become Vitamin D Deficient

Another common sun safety myth is that wearing sunscreen will cause you to have a vitamin D deficiency. When your skin gets exposed to UV rays, it creates vitamin D. The sun's UVB rays convert proteins in your skin to vitamin D3, which is a form of vitamin D. 

Vitamin D provides you with numerous benefits, such as:

  • Supports weight loss
  • Reduces depression and regulates mood
  • Fights some diseases

You might've heard that wearing sunscreen can reduce your levels of vitamin D because you're not as likely to absorb it from the sun. However, even if you liberally apply sunscreen, you'll still absorb two to three percent of the sun's rays. Your body doesn't need a lot to create vitamin D. 

Myth: You Don't Have to Reapply Waterproof Sunscreen After Going in the Water

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked sunscreen manufacturers to stop saying that their sunscreens are waterproof. No sunscreen is 100% waterproof. 

These types of sunscreens are now labeled as "water-resistant" for either 80 or 40 minutes. They can only be referred to as such if they hold up to the necessary SPF test procedure. They also have to note which timeframe they're considered "water-resistant" for. 

Water-resistant sunscreens aren't just for when you go into the water. You should apply them when you're doing something where you might sweat a lot. Excessive sweating can cause your sunscreen to come off. 

Myth: You Can't Get Sunburned Through a Window

Window glass is designed to block UVB rays. However, UVA rays can penetrate through the glass. These types of rays can increase your likelihood of getting skin cancer. 

If you are in front of a window for a large chunk of your day, like sitting at your desk or driving in a car, your skin might get sun damaged. Windows on buses, trains, and airplanes can also let in UVA rays. While it might seem silly to wear sunscreen while indoors, it can protect you from these harmful rays. 

Myth: All Sunscreens Are the Same

Sunscreens contain chemicals or minerals designed to absorb the sun's rays. A common chemical found in sunscreen is oxybenzone. It's found in around 40% of sunscreens. 

Unfortunately, oxybenzone has been linked to cell damage and hormone disruption. Another mineral, retinyl palmitate, might speed up the growth of skin tumors when applied to your skin. 

The two safe and effective ingredients you should look for in your sunscreen are:

  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc oxide

Look for those ingredients on the labels when shopping for sunscreens. 

Protect Yourself and Your Skin by Busting Sun Safety Myths

Finding the right sunscreen can be challenging but not impossible. Making yourself aware of common sun safety myths can help reduce your chances of sunburn. Sunscreen should be a part of your sun defense strategy, but educating yourself on other protection methods is key. 

BloqUV has designed high-performance sun-protective clothing for men, women, and kids. Browse our online store today to find clothing to fit all outdoor activities. 

April 10, 2023 — Sophy Lebrun