4 myths about sunscreen use

Myth 1 – I don’t need sunscreen on a cloudy day

Clouds are no excuse to not apply sunscreen! The sun is emitting harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays year-round, regardless of temperature or cloud cover. These UV rays are able to easily travel through clouds and reflect off surfaces like water, snow, cement, and sand. So apply sunscreen everyday you will be outside in order to protect yourself from photodamage that can lead to sunburn, visible signs of aging, and skin cancer.

Myth 2 – I’m protected after the first sunscreen application

Wouldn’t that be great? But no, not true. On average, sunscreen will protect for 2 hours. Make sure you invest in a good sunscreen- one with broad spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays) and sun protectant factor (SPF) 30 or higher. We also prefer physical sunscreens with  ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as these  ingredients sit on the surface of the skin and deflect harmful sun rays like a shield.

When it comes to sunscreen application, a good rule-of-thumb is to apply anywhere clothing won’t cover 15 minutes prior to going outside, and then reapply at least every 2 hours you’ll be outdoors. If you’re swimming or sweating, you may need to shorten that interval.. Some medications (tetracycline and sulfa antibiotics, retinoids, isotretinoin) and medical conditions (melasma, vitiligo, lupus) can also make your skin more prone to sun damage, so consider more frequent application in those scenarios too.

Myth 3 – Sunscreen will aggravate my acne

Some sunscreens might. But, there are many sunscreens that are actually formulated for acne-prone skin! Sun protection is extra important for acne-prone skin, as sunburn can actually cause breakouts and worsen acne scarring. So, when searching for a sunscreen that will play nice with your acne, make sure that it is labeled as noncomedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores, that it is oil-free, and bonus points for containing niacinamide (vitamin B3).

Myth 4 – I have really sensitive/allergic skin, so there’s no sunscreen match for me

Don’t give up! For sensitive skin, we recommend going for the cleanest physical sunscreen you can. Mineral sunscreens (containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide) are less likely to aggravate the skin than chemical sunscreens that likely have a lot of stabilizing additives or preservatives. To play it safe, keep it bland. Stick with fragrance-free and oil-free options. If you’re still running into trouble, it’s time to see the dermatologist and figure out what will work for you, or if allergy patch testing could help narrow down ingredients you need to avoid.


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