Myth #1: “If it’s cloudy, I don’t need sunscreen.”
WRONG! The sun’s harmful rays come in two forms—UVA and UVB. UVB rays are most powerful from the hours of 10 am and 2 pm and are the target of the SPF (sun protection factor). When we are out on a boat and feel the heat on our chest and come home to a crispy, red sunburn…that was UVB!
Have you ever heard someone say “I got the worst sunburn of my life at the baseball game? I didn’t wear any sunscreen because it was cloudy. I have no idea how this happened!” The culprit: UVA rays. They peer through the clouds at about an 80% intensity and can be just as damaging, increasing our risk for premature aging and skin cancer.
To adequately protect against UVA AND UVB rays, we need a physical broad-spectrum sunblock. This definition not only means your high SPF has you protected against UVB rays but is also blocking the sneaky UVA rays that are peeping through your car windows and incrementally exposing you to damage. Physical sunscreens block the rays from being absorbed into your skin, are effective immediately after applying and are a great option for those with sensitive skin since their components are mineral based and are unlikely to cause irritation or allergy. Furthermore, the appropriate way to wear sunscreen is to use a visual of a shot glass. Imagine filling the shot glass full of sunscreen (approx. 1 ounce)–this is how much is needed to cover the average body for one application. If you are just using a thin layer of SPF 30, you could only be offering yourself SPF 5 coverage. Sunscreens should also be reapplied every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
Myth #2: “The higher the SPF, the better”
As mentioned in Myth #1, SPF is only quantifying your coverage of UVB rays and now you’ve learned we need to block out UVA as well. A higher SPF number typically offers a false sense of security that you can stay in the sun longer without reapplying because after all, you applied an SPF 100 at 8 am.
In higher SPFs (greater than 50) the chemicals used to block the sun’s harmful rays are used in higher concentrations and are more likely to cause hormonal disruptions and allergic reactions. Sticking to the range of SPF 30-50 with adequate use as described above will be sufficient.
What about all the other rays? The United States has poor standards of coverage on UVA protection, therefore your safest bet is choosing a physical sunblock, just blocking it all from even entering the skin. And you guessed it, RE-APPLY!
Myth #3 “I’m already oily in the summer, so I don’t need to moisturize.”
Ok, here’s your break from lecturing on sunscreen! It’s a common misconception that moisturizer isn’t needed if you are acne-prone or oily. To the contrary, our skin produces oil in an attempt to balance dry skin. The oil, also known as sebum, then combines with dead skin cells and creates clogged pores with these little waxy plugs. If we give our skin what it’s asking for in a non-oil form, i.e. a perfectly balanced moisturizer, our oil production remains normal and won’t contribute to acne breakouts during those summer months. My favorite moisturizer is Hydration Boosting Cream made by Skinbetter Science. It’s a unique blend of ceramides and botanical lipids to repair the skin barrier and restore the hydration, resulting in a smooth and supple, yet airy finish.
Myth #4 “If I get a base tan I won’t burn and put myself at risk for skin cancer”
AHHH…If I hear someone say they are going to the tanning booth to get a base tan before a vacation, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. There is no such thing as a safe base tan. Any tan is an up-regulation of skin cells called melanocytes that are a defense of our body signaling sun damage. Not only does it put you at risk of skin cancer, but it also guarantees your seat on the train to premature aging. With the leaps and bounds the industry has made for artificial tans, there is something for everyone who wants a summer glow. Whether it’s the organic blend applied by a professional, or one of the amazing self-tanning products you can do in the comforts of your own home, the best of both worlds exists—tan (appearing) bodies sans the wrinkles and skin cancer!
Myth #5 “Summer means taking a break from all of my skincare maintenance.”
Summer means rest and relaxation for most. Taking a break from daily routines and stopping to smell the roses in bloom is important, but it is not a time to neglect our skin. The point has been driven home to wear sunscreen, but should we stop chemical peels, laser resurfacing, photorejuvenation, dermaplaning, and our retinols??
Simply put, no. If you are following the rules of protecting your skin, you should not be sporting a tan that prevents you from your routine maintenance. For example, if our Skinbetter Science nighttime Alpharet has finally helped you kick the acne on your chin, you keep it on board and stay mindful that you may need to pay closer attention to the sun protection on your face since you’re more exfoliated than you used to be. Furthermore, if you are laying out daily by your pool or frying in Florida over Spring Break, BBL photorejuvenation, where we laser away all the brown and red spots, might not be a safe choice for you.
Great skin doesn’t require you to do everything perfectly. At Beauty Culture, we spend time with our clients, and with our expertise and experience, we create a customized approach to get you the skin you’ve always wanted. Call us for a complimentary consultation!