What if we told you there is a way to prevent wrinkles, curb dark spots and reduce risk of skin cancer? It’s not magic…it’s sunscreen!

We are sunscreen advocates all the time (especially because it has such an impact on our skin aesthetically!), but with May being Skin Cancer Awareness month, now is the time to be even louder about the need for sun protection.

MYTH: Darker skin tones don’t require sunscreen.

TRUTH: It is thought that medium to deep skin tones may have a natural SPF of up to 13. While this may be true, it is still much lower than the SPF 30 minimum that is recommended for daily use. The melanin is also uneven throughout the body, and may not protect against both UVA and UVB rays the same. Even if the rate of developing skin cancer is lower in individuals with darker skin, the possibility is still there. And these skin types are still prone to the damaging and aging effects of the sun, raising aesthetic concerns.

MYTH: Sunscreen is an all-protective forcefield, wearing it alone is sufficient for sun protection.

TRUTH: While sunscreen is a great defence, it is intended to be combined with other precautionary steps: Stay out of the sun when the UV index is higher than 3 and limit your time in the sun overall. Cover up with lightweight clothing, hats and sunglasses to reduce exposure. Find shady areas, such as under a tree or building awning, or make your own with a tent or umbrella.

MYTH: I don’t need sunscreen, my makeup contains SPF.

TRUTH: Most makeup contains a maximum of SPF 15, meaning to reach the recommended minimum of SPF 30, you would need to cake on layer upon layer to be protected. It is highly unlikely your makeup alone is providing adequate protections on a daily basis.

MYTH: I only need to wear sunscreen outdoors.

TRUTH: This past year may have had you cozying up at home more often than not, but being inside does not mean you’re totally safe from the sun’s rays. While the sunshine filtering through your windows may be great for those indoor houseplants, it is not so great for your skin. The glass on your windows is pretty good at blocking the UVB rays, but more than 50% of UVA rays (the ones which can cause premature skin aging) can penetrate through. Beyond this, it is even thought that blue light emitted by our screens and devices contributes to skin aging. All the more reason to protect that skin while inside!

MYTH: I only need to reapply my sunscreen after swimming washes it off.

TRUTH: Your sunscreen should be reapplied every 2-3 hours of sun exposure, or as directed by the specific product. Even sweating can require you to reapply more frequently.  

MYTH: Don’t worry, I’m great about applying my sunscreen in the summer!

TRUTH: That’s wonderful! But what about the other months? Your skin needs sun protection year-round. The sun’s rays can reflect off of many surfaces, including water, sand, concrete and snow. On a sunny day in the middle of winter, the snow can actually reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. While your body might be covered by your Canadian winter attire, any exposed skin such as your face, neck and hands are still victims to the sun’s UV rays. 

MYTH: I never burn, but a healthy tan is good for me. My first, initial base tan will even prevent future sun burns.

TRUTH: NO tan is a healthy tan. I repeat: No degree of tan is safe or healthy for your skin. Just like a sunburn, your tan is a result of permanent damage to the skin. This damage may cause a number of adverse cellular-level effects, which is where the risk for premature aging and skin cancer comes into play.

MYTH: I need to be out in the sun to get enough Vitamin D.

TRUTH: There are many other ways to acquire Vitamin D. Getting Vitamin D from the sun, when considering the risk of UV damage and skin cancer, is unsafe and not recommended. Instead, a supplement or dietary means (try some salmon or milk for example) are both great ways to reach your daily intake without putting your skin at risk.

There are many more excuses for not wearing sunscreen, but I have yet to see one that justifies putting yourself at risk. As we welcome the warm, sunny weather, please be sun smart each and every day. If you need some sunscreen recommendations, I am happy to help! Just contact our team and we can make sure your skin is protected from those harmful UV rays.

Melissa Rossi, Master Skin Therapist