Tackling the top 5 sunscreen myths for safe sun protection.

South African’s are known to be outdoor enthusiasts and when the weather warms up in sunny SA it can only mean one thing – shake off the winter blues and get out into the sun.

“We all know the rules on how to stay safe in the sun – apply sunscreen, wear a hat and stay out of the sun during peak hours. However, most of the time we pick and choose which rules we follow, and other times we avoid them altogether,” comments Mario Correia, brand manager for Everysun.  He explains that there are many misconceptions when it comes to sunscreen. “The golden rule when it comes to protecting your skin is “all year round”. This is one step that should never be missed and should never be downplayed no matter the time of the year.”

The sun’s effect on our skin has to do with the ultraviolet (UV) rays. UVA and UVB rays are the two main types of sunlight that cause sun-related damage. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and play a role in causing skin cancer. These rays have short wavelengths and therefore cannot penetrate deeply into the skin but still do a fair amount of damage to the outer layers. UVA rays can penetrate deeper into the skin. This type of ray is what we are exposed to most of the time and too can result in skin cancer formation as well as being responsible for reducing our skin’s natural elasticity, increasing the chances of wrinkles and pigmentation. When choosing a sunscreen ensure that it protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Everysun’s range of family friendly sunscreens includes advanced UVA and UVB filters with photo stability, as well as Vita Lock™, an infusion of superfruits, antioxidants and vitamins. 

The application of sunscreen in many families is often seen as an option, most of the time due to the misconceptions around sunscreen. Correia identifies the top five misconceptions around sunscreen and why they should be debunked:

  1. Sunscreen is not always necessary. Many people believe that sunscreen is only necessary on hot days when your entire body is exposed to the sun. This is not true. UV rays can harm your skin no matter how much is exposed. Even on cloudy days your skin can be affected by the sun – no matter how much sunlight there is, your skin can still be affected by UV rays. Your face, lower arms and hands are constantly exposed to the sun and should always be protected with sunscreen.
  2. People with darker skin tones do not need to use sunscreen. Although those of us with darker skin tones have more melanin in our skin and therefore do not burn as easily as those with lighter skin tone, this is because the melanin defuses UVB rays, our skin is still affected by UVA rays. Skin cancer can be found in people of all skin tones, and it has been noted that patients with darker skin tones have a lower survival rate than those with lighter skin tones as the cancer is often detected and identified too late.
  3. Makeup with an SPF is enough to protect me through the day. This may be true for a short amount of time, but it is not a good replacement for sunscreen. Using a face moisturiser sunscreen such as Everysun’s SPF 50 anti-aging face moisturising crème will ensure that you are covered for longer. It is recommended that sunscreen should be applied to your face as the last step in your skin routine.
  4. You can’t tan while wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen helps protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays, but it is still possible to get a tan, even when applied multiple times during the day.
  5. One application of sunscreen will protect you throughout the day. Sunscreen should be applied and reapplied every two hours especially when swimming and sweating. If you are working indoors, you can apply it less frequently. Remember, the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through glass, and when sitting at a window or driving in your car you are still exposed to the sun’s rays. It is recommended that an SPF30 is applied daily throughout the year to ensure maximum protection.

Sunscreen has been a long-time debate, but in order for people to protect themselves from the harm that the sun’s rays can cause, these types of myths and others need to be rectified. “It is a simple step in your morning routine that can help avoid unnecessary damage to your health, and when taught from a young age will continue throughout life,” comments Corriea.

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