You might think you know everything there is to know about sunscreen, from what SPF you should use to where you should apply it, but can you really separate fact from fiction? Our resident beauty expert Jacquie Carter sheds some light on the most common sun protection myths, and reveals how you can better protect your skin to keep it looking healthy and youthful…
"Only people with fair skin need to use sunscreen."
No matter how dark or light skinned you are, everyone should wear sunscreen on a regular basis. When left unprotected, everyone’s skin has the potential to burn and age prematurely, so ensure you protect yours with a suitable sunscreen.
"If your sunscreen says it is waterproof, you don’t need to reapply."
The term “waterproof” is misleading and should not appear on sunscreens as the nature of the product means it will wash off when immersed in water. Look for “water resistant” instead, as these products should show the amount of time you can expect the sunscreen to provide its SPF level of protection while swimming or sweating, e.g. SPF 15 – Water resistant 40 min.
"Sunscreens are only meant for certain areas of the body."
All exposed areas of skin require sunscreen, including feet, ears, back, arms, legs, neck, and so on. Most people are concerned about their face as they want to keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay, but many other areas such as shoulders, hands and legs are also vulnerable to sun damage in the form of age spots. Keeping a small pot of sunscreen in your car or handbag will encourage you to reapply.
"If it’s provided in my makeup, there’s no need to apply sunscreen."
Makeup with SPF is often applied unevenly, for example a quick dusting of blusher or dab of foundation, which is not enough to provide appropriate protection. While it’s a nice added benefit, it’s important to use sunscreen as well. Look for a daily moisturiser with SPF 30 and both UVA/UVB protection.
"Sunscreens made for adults are not as protective as those for children."
Sunscreens for both adults and children contain the same active sunscreen ingredients and provide the same protection. However, there are different types of formulations, often with gentler formulas for children and those with sensitive skin, for example fragrance-free or with no added parabens.
"Sunscreen that you purchased last year is ok to use this year."
If you have leftover sunscreen from the year before, I advise you to throw it away. Sunscreen is not a seasonal necessity; it’s important to protect your skin year-round, so if using it everyday you should not have any leftover. Always check the expiration dates too, as sunscreens lose their effectiveness over time.