From fancy sunscreen and SPF-infused makeup, to oversized sunglasses and equally jumbo beach hats, you probably feel like you’ve done your part to keep your skin safe from sun damage. While we applaud your efforts in the war against the sun, unfortunately you are not in the clear. According to skincare experts, there are a ton of misconceptions that we’ve fallen victim to when it comes to sun protection. Since we are just beginning the dog days of summer, we feel it’s our duty to make sure you are well-informed and prepared before going into battle with that huge ball of gas in the sky.
Be aware of high-risk zones. Certain areas are more susceptible to skin cancer, and they’re probably the ones you are neglecting. The eye area, for instance, represents a measly 1 percent of our body’s total skin, yet it is one of the most sensitive. Skin cancers in the eye region account for 10 percent of all skin cancers. Yikes! Try eye-specific sunscreens such as SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50 to keep the area safe and sound. Other areas to give a little extra SPF love include the ears (weird, right?), hair and lips.
UVA and UVB rays. Do you know the difference? According to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Adam Friedman, many don’t — and should. “SPF refers to a sunscreen’s ability to prevent burning, and since UVB is the type of UV radiation that causes burning, it is a way of describing a sunscreens UVB protecting abilities,” he explains. “SPF does not refer to UVA protection, the so-called silent killer, which does not cause burning, but penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB, having a greater ability to cause accelerated skin aging, as well as cancer.” The takeaway from this is to make sure you’re using broad spectrum sunscreen (we love Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Lotion For Face SPF 50) to make sure you’re covered in the UVA and UVB department.
SPFs don’t offer complete protection. Even the highest of SPFs (we’re looking at you, 75) can only offer up to 98 percent protection from sun damage, and that remaining 2 percent can still be lethal. “One should use protective clothing including hats, sunglasses and clothing,” suggests Dr. Friedman. “And try to avoid peak hours (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m) of sun intensity.”
Waterproof sunscreen is not a thing. While water-resistant sunscreen is a possibility, waterproof sunscreen is bogus. In reality, SPFs (like L’Oréal Sublime Sun Advanced Sunscreen SPF 50+ Crystal Clear Mist) are water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Make sure you are reapplying throughout the day, especially if you’re relaxing poolside or frolicking in the ocean!
What are your methods for protecting from skin from sun damage? Sound off in the comments below.