Sun Protection Myths: 5 Things You Need To Know

By Alexis Wolfer

Myth: I have dark skin, I don’t need sunscreen.

Fact: Many darker skinned women think they’re exempt from the SPF mandate, but they’re not. Rather, regardless on skintone, ethnicity, hair color and tendency to burn or tan, sunscreen (with an SPF higher than 15) is essential.  In fact, a University of Pennsylvania study found a gene, MC1R, that close to 30% of dark haired people have, that can double chances of skin cancer.

Myth: I’ll be fine if I just put sunscreen on when I get to the beach.

Fact: Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure to allow it to absorb and bind.

A water workout you can do in the pool!

Myth: If I apply sunscreen in the morning, I’m good to go.

Fact: You must reapply! Even if your bottle says “waterproof” or “all day wear,” you should reapply your sun protection every 2-4 hours and after sweating or swimming to ensure adequate protection. Also, be sure you’re applying enough! You should apply approximately 1oz of sunscreen (or enough to fill a shot glass) to your body and about 1 tablespoon to your face, 20 minutes prior to exposure.

Myth: The sun clears my acne (and sunscreen makes me breakout).

Fact: While the sun’s affect on the pigment of your skin will make redness less noticeable in the short-term, the sun damage will actually cause you to break out more later on. And if you think your sun protection of choice is making you break out, you just haven’t found the right one for you!

See our top sunscreen picks here!

Myth: The sun gives great highlights

Fact: While your hair isn’t at risk of cancer (although your scalp certainly is!), the UVA and UVB rays can nevertheless damage your hair from the cuticle through to the inner structure of the hair shaft. So, while it’s true that the sun does fade you hair color (leading to the highlighted-look), the sun can also make your hair dry and brittle, can cause split ends, can make your locks frizzy (or frizzier!), and can even thin your hair! Bottom line: it’s not worth it. Instead, make an appointment with your trusted colorist and cover up those lovely locks of yours!

Remember, check your moles carefully, practice sun protection, and speak with your doctor if you notice the ABCDs: asymmetry, border irregularity, color changes, diameters greater than 5 millimeters.

Still want a sun-kissed look? Get a flawless faux glow with these tips!