Think you know everything there is to know about sunscreen? Well, let’s test your knowledge! Keep reading to discover five of the biggest sunscreen myths you should stop believing, stat.
Myth: The higher the SPF number, the better.
Busted: SPF 50+ offers a false sense of protection.
Any dermatologist will tell you that choosing an SPF between 30 and 50 is your best bet. Anything above 50 gives people a false sense of all-day protection. It will also only protect you from less than one percent more of the sun’s UVB rays, while exposing your skin to a much higher concentration of active ingredients that can be irritating in the process. Furthermore, if you use an SPF that’s higher than 50, you run the risk of getting sunburned because you’ll be less likely to reapply.
Myth: Reapplying your sunscreen is unnecessary.
Busted: Your SPF wears off over time, so we recommend reapplying every two hours.
It can be hard to remember to do, but reapplying is absolutely necessary. Here’s why: Any type of sunscreen (chemical or mineral) will naturally break down on your skin when it’s exposed to sunlight – or even when you’re just going throughout your workday. Think about it…you’re walking around, touching your face and (if it’s hot out) potentially sweating, so SPF will naturally fade and degrade, even over a period of minutes.
So, how often should you reapply? The gold standard is about every two hours, but thankfully we’ve made it easy for you to get your SPF fix (even over your makeup!). You can reapply and refresh with Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 or your can reapply and perfect with 100% Mineral Setting Powder SPF 45.
Myth: Mineral sunscreens provide protection right away while chemical sunscreens need time to “activate.”
Busted: Both mineral and chemical SPF start protecting your skin upon application.
The reason you’ll see this myth floating around (especially when it comes to chemical SPF) is because your sunscreen does need time to “set” and adhere onto your skin before doing things like getting dressed, swimming or sweating – but this does not mean the sunscreen isn’t working after it’s applied. One way to think about it is comparing it to painting your nails. As soon as you apply nail polish, you can see the color…but you should wait until the color dries before physically doing anything, otherwise it can be easily wiped off.
Myth: One type of sunscreen should totally work for everyone.
Busted: What works for your skin may not work for your mom / brother / best friend’s skin…in other words, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all SPF.
Sunscreen is a super personal thing — what may work for one person may not work for another. And this is why it’s so important to offer lots of options — from 100% mineral options to clean chemical ones.
Here’s more about why everyone can’t wear the same kind of sunscreen… For starters, mineral and chemical sunscreens can work best for different types and tones of skin. Mineral sunscreen is typically more gentle but also more drying by nature, so it can be better for those of us with sensitive, oily or acne-prone skin. Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, tends to be more hydrating and can also be weightless and even invisible by nature. So they’ll tend to work better for those of us with drier skin types and/or deeper skin tones. Chemical sunscreens can also be more ideal when you’re doing things (like running outside) that require your pores to breathe.
The moral of the story? Both mineral and chemical formulas are great, and it just depends on what skin type, tone and activity you’re shopping for.
Myth: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens are natural.
Busted: There’s no such thing as an all-natural sunscreen.
The definition of “natural” in the skincare and beauty space is a bit murky. That’s because there’s actually no official government organization that endorses the term, or even has a specific definition for it. That being said, when beauty companies say that a product is “all-natural,” they usually mean that the product has not been synthetically made in a lab. But zinc oxide-based or titanium dioxide-based sunscreen can never be considered “natural” because all sunscreen actives (mineral or chemical) are made synthetically in a lab. This is to ensure that the materials don’t contain any impurities or traces of hazardous materials…and that the formulation lives up to its protection claims.
+Know any other sunscreen myths people should stop believing? Leave them in the comments below!