4 myths about sunscreen debunked!
1. The higher the SPF the better. I hear this a lot. Here’s the deal: SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. Go any higher and there’s barely a detectable increase in protection. In fact, the FDA has proposed new labeling rules that cap SPF at 50+. And remember that the higher you go, the more chemicals you introduce into your skin. Is an additional 1% protection worth it?
2. Pick physical sunblocks over chemical sunscreens. Hmmm, not necessarily. I like products that have both. The physical ingredients (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) provide a wall between you and the sun, which is great! They also start working immediately, unlike chemical sunscreens that take 20-30 minutes to absorb into the skin. But physical sunblocks can also feel thick and look pasty, making them harder to wear. Chemical ingredients (oxybenzone, avobenzone, PABA) are absorbed into the skin and filter/deactivate UV rays. When you combine the physical and the chemical ingredients together, you get an easier-to-wear powerhouse product that protects from all angles.
3. But chemical ingredients cause cancer, don’t they? Once again, the organic activists have extrapolated scientific findings to the point of absurdity. A widely publicized study claimed that chemical ingredients mimic hormones and disrupt the endocrine system. But in that study, oxybenzone was directly fed to mice in huge doses, not applied to the skin. And while oxybenzone can be absorbed through the skin, it is absorbed in much smaller concentrations. No study has ever shown it to cause cancer in humans. It’s also worth noting that none of the major health organizations have recognized the findings.
4. My moisturizer/makeup has SPF, so I’m covered. There’s a dirty little secret about dual-purpose products that the manufacturers won’t tell you, and it’s all about dilution and efficacy. An SPF goes into your moisturizer as 30…that’s what the bottle says anyway. But there are a lot of ingredients in moisturizers that don’t play well with SPF ingredients, breaking them down and turning your 30 into more like 7. Additionally, SPFs are very drying, thus counteracting the hydrating properties of your moisturizer. And don’t even get me started on SPFs in makeup and how nobody applies a thick enough layer to get that level of protection. Bottom line: keep your SPF separate.