Protecting our skin from the intense sun rays is vital. Using sunscreen lotion are the most obvious and popular way of protecting ourselves from the harmful effect of sun. Besides giving a spotless skin, sunscreen also reduces the risks of skin cancer, though it isn’t a panacea against skin cancer, melanoma.
Here are some of the myths and facts associated with sunscreen and use:
• The SPF in the sunscreen determines whether it provides good protection or not - The SPF content in a sunscreen lotion depends on the person’s skin type. The minimum level of SPF is 15 according to FDA. However, sunscreen with higher SPF does not provide double protection against sun’s harmful rays.
• Sunscreen prevent skin cancer, melanoma - Damage from sun exposure is cumulative. Skin cancers can occur even with and after use of sunscreens due to previous exposure to UV rays. However, sunscreen, more than anything else, reduce the risks of additional UV damage, thus, decreasing the risks of melanoma.
• There is no need to apply sunscreen on cloudy days - On cloudy days, skin can be exposed to fewer UVB rays, but 65% of sun damaging rays (i.e., UNA rays) can penetrate both clouds and glass. Therefore, it is necessary to take precautions even on a cloudy day.
• Sunscreen lotions prevent sunburn - Sunburns are caused not merely because of UV exposure but largely because of the lack of antioxidants. Therefore, only using sunscreen would not give protection against sunburns.
• Sunscreen should be applied on exposed skin only - Applying sunscreen only to the exposed body part is a faux pas. Instead it is important to cover the entire body with the SPF containing lotion. This is the best way of protecting the body parts against harmful rays.
• Applying sunscreen once a day is sufficient - The effect of a sunscreen lotion remains only for two hours. Exposure to sun with the single application of sunscreen can have the same effect as not using it.
• Dark skin doesn’t require sunscreen - It is a common misconception that dark skins do not need to use sunscreen. Using sunscreen is not meant to retain the fair complexion of the skin but to protect it from the harmful effect of the sun rays.