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Sunscreen Protection Day: 5 Sunscreen Myths

Tue, May 26, 2015 at 2:30PM

Who knew? May 27th is Sunscreen Protection Day! The timing of this special day certainly makes sense—as we get closer to the official start of summer in June, we’re spending more and more time outside in the hot sun, in need of some serious protection.

In today’s blog, we’re debunking some of the most prevalent myths about sun protection—and sharing a few ways you can stay protected while on your boat this summer.

Myth #1: Lotion is better than spray. While today’s sunscreen shelves are often filled with easy-application sprays, that hasn’t always been the case. Only relatively recently (in the last ten years or so) has spray sunscreen become a mainstay in our sun protection lineup, so it’s no wonder many of us like to stick to the more traditional lotion variety—after all, it was here first, wasn’t it?

Actually, whether you spray it or smear it on, a good sunscreen is a good sunscreen and will get the job done. Of course, that still means you have to apply it correctly, and for some people, one type may be easier than the other. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also aired a few concerns about the safety of spray sunscreen when it comes to kids—while it’s not the makeup of the sunscreen itself that is worrisome, it’s the way this type is applied that can cause kids to accidentally inhale what comes out of the aerosol can. To combat this, simply use lotion, spray sunscreen into your hands then spread like a regular sunscreen, or be extra careful and note what direction the wind is blowing—because no one at the beach or marina wants to be doused in your sunscreen’s after-spray!

Myth #2: My face makeup will serve as sunscreen. Ladies who use foundation with a sun protection factor (SPF) are taking care of their skin when they step out of the house on quick errands with minimal sun exposure—but for the pool, beach or boat trip, be sure to cover up with a stronger, more dedicated sunscreen. What you apply as facial makeup is not the same amount as you would a sunscreen, so be sure to apply and reapply when spending any extended amount of time in the sun.

Myth #3: You need to buy the highest SPF available. Common sense tells us to pick up the bottle with the highest SPF out you can find—but this might not actually be the best idea. We now know that sunscreens with an SPF of over about 50 only provide a marginal increase in protection (that is to say, it might be wise to buy a 50 SPF over a 15, but not a 75 over a 50 or 30). These higher-SPF sunscreens may actually encourage users to apply less and less, because they think the high SPF will offer them more protection when it really doesn’t.

Myth #4: Tan before a vacation. We’ve seen advice that says to tan before going on a sunny vacation—while it may seem smart to tan at home to avoid an on-the-water sunburn, any kind of tanning, even the preemptive kind, isn’t so good for your skin. If you really want to prevent that nasty sunburn, just take special care in applying and reapplying your sunscreen as usual.

Myth #5: Tanning is okay when you wear sunscreen. No tan is really a “good” tan… lying out in the sun and directly exposing yourself to its rays can lead to a quicker burn (even with sunscreen!) and skin damage down the road. Instead of tanning, go out in the water and enjoy the sun—you won’t be getting quite as direct exposure, and you’ll be able to reapply more regularly.

 

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