Debunking 12 Common Sun Protection Myths

Sun protection myths are far too common today. Discover 12 common sun protection myths, learn why they're wrong, and how you can stay sun safe on the UV Skinz blog today.
Debunking 12 Common Sun Protection Myths

If you've ever heard someone say "the higher the SPF the better" or think if you have darker skin that you can't get sunburned or get skin cancer, we have a blog post for you!

Unfortunately, there's a lot of information circling around about how to stay protected from the sun that's just not true. To help set the record straight, we went ahead and spoke to the board certified dermatologists we've interviewed before in Live in Our Skinz (check out some of our Doc talk blog posts to discover more tips from them) to debunk these. 

12 Sun Protection Myths You Need to Know

1. You Can't Get Sunburned on a Cloudy or Cool Day

FALSE While it may seem like you can't get sunburned when there's no visible sunlight, this isn't the case. Sun damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not temperature. This means that a cool, cloudy day can have similar UV levels as a warm, sunny day. 

Sun damage can be even more intense on cloudy days as well as the UV rays can reflect off the clouds.

Remember clouds are just water vapor and can't protect you from UV rays.

2. People With Darker Skin Tones Can't Get Skin Cancer

FALSE People with darker skin, including people with olive skin can get skin cancer too. Even if you are less likely to get a sunburn, or rarely get one, you can still get exposed to UV rays. These rays can cause skin cancer. 

In fact, when skin cancer is found in people of color, it's often too late. Be proactive and protect your skin from UV rays and check it frequently for any skin changes, like a discolored mole, patch of scaly skin, or dark streak around a nail.

3. You Need More Sun Exposure to Avoid a Vitamin D Deficiency 

FALSE Research suggests that prolonged sun exposure doesn't always correlate with high or healthy Vitamin D levels. In fact, in a study conducted on Hawaiians, it was concluded that "high amounts of sun exposure do not ensure what is currently accepted as Vitamin D adequacy."

    If you believe you're at risk of Vitamin D deficiency, speak to your doctor about supplementation. 

    4. Only People Who Spend Time at the Beach Frequently Get Skin Cancer

    FALSE Excessive exposure to sunlight does not just happen to those who spend a significant time at the beach. 

    In some parts of the world where the UV index can be high, including states like California, Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado, it's so important to wear proper sun protection every day. This is because even going for a walk, working outside for a little bit of time, gardening, or having a picnic can add up over time and increase your risk of skin cancer.

    5. If You Tan But Don't Burn You Don't Need to Protect Your Skin From the Sun

    FALSE There's no such thing as a safe tan. In fact, when your skin gets "tan" or darker, it's a sign that UV rays are damaging cells. Your skin begins to darken in an attempt to block out harmful rays and prevent further injury.

    6. You Can't Get a Sunburn Through a Car Window

    FALSE You can get a sunburn through a car window as your car's windows do not protect you from UV radiation. 

    This means you can get sunburnt commuting or on a long road trip if you don't wear sunscreen or sun protective clothing like arm sleeves or long sleeve shirts. 

    7. It's Safe to Make Your Own Sunscreen

    FALSE While there are many homemade sunscreen recipes out on the internet, we would avoid doing this. Homemade sunscreen isn't tested or regulated for efficiency. It's also dangerous as there's no real way to know your recipe's SPF. 

    If you need recommendations for effective, safe, trusted sunscreen we've vetted, please check out our partners MDSolarSciences and CoTZ

    8. Higher SPF Means More Protection Against UV Rays

    FALSE Most people think that the higher the SPF, the more coverage they're going to get. In reality, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will block around 97 percent of the sun’s UV rays.

    Sunscreen with a higher SPF will block only 1 to 2 percent more of the sun's UV rays, and no sunscreen can block 100 percent. Hot tip: this is why we always recommend wearing UPF 50+ clothing with sunscreen.

    A sunscreen's SPF also has no impact on the length of time it will protect you, which is usually around 2 hours. SPF 50 doesn't allow you to spend more time in the sun than an SPF 30 would. You are still only protected for about 2 hours and then need to reapply more sunscreen. 

    9. Your Clothing Can Block UV Rays

    DEPENDS The type of clothing you wear as well as the UPF rating matters. Darker and brighter colors absorb more UV rays. Also, heavier, denser fabrics with a tighter weave offers more protection from UV rays than thin, lightweight fabrics.  

    Look for UPF clothing that has a rating of 50+, which is considered excellent by The Skin Cancer Foundation.

    10. Sunscreen Leads to a Vitamin D Deficiency 

    FALSE You're still getting around 2 to 3 percent of the sun's UVB rays when wearing sunscreen, which is just enough for your body to produce vitamin D. According to a study conducted by The Skin Cancer Foundation, "everyday sunscreen use doesn't lead to a Vitamin D insufficiency."

    11. The Time You Go Out Into the Sun Doesn't Matter

    FALSE According to the CDC, UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's imperative to check out the UV index and be sure to protect your skin from the sun every day. You may even want to skip out on sun exposure when the UV index is too high or wear UPF 50+ clothing and sunscreen.

    12. There's SPF in My Makeup So I Don't Need to Wear Sunscreen

    FALSE Theoretically your makeup with SPF should be enough to protect you from UV rays, but sometimes this isn't the case. Your makeup could contain a lower SPF or might not be broad-spectrum (this is important as broad-spectrum SPF means you're protected from UVA and UVB rays), so wear sunscreen with your makeup.

    Hot tip: Put your makeup on over broad-spectrum sunscreen. Our mineral-based sun creme is the best for this.

    Be sure to subscribe to our email list for more sun protection tips. And check out our collection of UPF 50+ clothing and sunscreen to ensure your skin is protected from UV rays all year long.