5 things about sunscreen most people get wrong

Summer is here, and that means it’s time to break out the sunscreen. Right now the sun is closer to the earth than it is the rest of the year, and that means it is hotter and your chances of getting a sunburn are much higher.

If you ask any dermatologist, though, they’d tell you that you need to wear sunscreen every day of the year to stay protected. So, if you’re going to get in the habit of wearing sunscreen daily, summer is the best (and easiest) time to get hooked.

But, while we all know what sunscreen does, there are still some persistent myths out there that are actually preventing people from protecting themselves to the fullest. The truth is, no matter how much you think you know, there’s probably a myth on this list that you still believe.

Check out our article and get the proper sunscreen information you need to stay healthy this summer!

1. Myth: Sunscreen over SPF 15 doesn’t actually do anything
Truth: Dermatologists say otherwise

It’s true, right now the FDA is debating whether very high SPF’s, like those over 50, really do that much better of a job. But, when it comes to the normal 15, 30 and 50 SPF, dermatologists interviewed by Readers Digest agreed there is a difference — especially when it comes to how you apply it.

“If you use SPF 50, you really get the protection of an SPF 20 based on how people actually apply it,” New York City dermatologist Doris Day, MD explained. So remember, reapply, people!

2. Myth: I only need sunscreen between 10 a.m. and 2
Truth: If the sun’s up, sunscreen should be on

Most people know that the sun is most intense between 10 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. It’s during this time that the sun is directly overhead and usually it’s most powerful. But, dermatologists warn that the sun’s powerful UV rays still come down during the rest of the day, putting you at risk for sunburn.

3. Myth: You don’t need sunscreen on a cloudy day
Truth: You certainly do!

“Clouds block infrared rays, so you don’t feel hot, but they only block 20 percent of UV rays so you can still get burned,” Ronnie Klein, MD, assistant professor, Yale Dermatology told Readers Digest.

4. Myth: Wearing sunscreen means you block the production of vitamin D
Truth: Not quite…

Dermatologists say that while wearing sunscreen does block your body’s response to produce vitamin D, most people don’t apply sunscreen well enough to block the entire process. “Being tan isn’t a good indicator of healthy vitamin D levels”, says Klein explained. Instead, doctors say vitamin D should come from a mix of diet, supplements and incidental sun exposure.

5. Myth: Some sunscreen chemicals are toxic
Truth: There just isn’t the research to back this up

There have been a few studies over the years conducted on animals that have found some sunscreen chemicals toxic. But, dermatologists interviewed by Reader’s Digest said the conditions just weren’t right (like, how they tested direct injection and the inhaling of chemicals rather than skin application) and in the end, there just isn’t enough research out there to back it up.

“The ultimate experiment is done every weekend at the beach when tens of millions of Americans use sunscreen,” says Darrell Rigel, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. “If it was so unhealthy, we’d know by now.”

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