If you are still in doubt about the benefits of sunscreens and weigh the pros and cons for a long time before purchasing the coveted tube of Sanskrin, this article is for you. Debunking the top 10 most common myths about sunscreens together with Alexei Edemsky, cosmetologist-dermatovenerologist.
Myth # 1: Sunscreen is more dangerous than the sun itself
There are two types of sunscreens: physical and chemical protection. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are used as physical filters. These substances create a physical barrier in the form of a film, due to which the sun's rays are reflected from the surface of the skin, preventing ultraviolet light from penetrating deep into the dermis.
Creams with a chemical defense factor act as a chemical agent, blocking the sun's rays. Products with a physical filter are considered safer, but they are not recommended for those who are prone to inflammatory skin diseases (acne or rosacea).
In turn, chemical filters are not suitable for people with hypersensitive skin in order to avoid unwanted reactions. It is important to note: if you use sunscreens correctly, taking into account the individual characteristics of the skin, they will never cause harm.
What really poses a threat is sun exposure without sunscreen. Damage to the skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation accumulates over the years, and the more time a person spends under its rays, the higher the risk of skin cancer. In addition, ultraviolet rays negatively affect the condition of the connective tissue of the skin. As a result of their influence, damaged collagen and elastin are not recognized by the immune system, are not excreted and are not replaced with a new one. As a result, over time, this leads to such an unpleasant phenomenon as photoaging of the skin.
Myth # 2: Sunscreen prevents you from getting a beautiful tan
The vast majority of sunscreens partially transmit ultraviolet light into the skin, where pigment accumulates and a tan is formed. If you want to get a beautiful tan without burning out, it is worth considering a number of points: whether you have sunbathing before or is this your first time in the sun this season; whether your skin has adapted to ultraviolet light; whether protective mechanisms have developed in the form of sunburn and hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation).
In addition, it is important to know what phototype you have, what SPF suits your skin and, most importantly, how active the sun is at a given moment. Recall that the activity of the sun is determined by the ultraviolet index, information about which can be obtained from the weather forecast.
Myth number 3: You can use a product with any degree of protection
The higher the SPF value, the higher the degree of protection. A tool with a degree of protection of 30 and higher is already considered quite reliable. However, this is a rather subjective indicator, which depends on many factors, including the amount of cream applied.
The term "protection" itself implies a certain layer that blocks the effects of ultraviolet radiation. Therefore, it is necessary to apply sunscreen generously, especially if we are talking about creams with physical protection factors. The volume of the cream for the whole body should be 30 ml per application. If you apply the sunscreen as a regular skin care cream, that is, in a thin layer, hammering it into the skin, it is unlikely to create a barrier of the necessary strength.
Myth # 4: Don't worry about skin safety after applying sunscreen
The time of safe exposure to the sun largely depends on the degree of protection of the cream. At the same time, it must be remembered that in the sun (UV index from 11), even with the maximum protection factor, it is undesirable to be outdoors: if you cover yourself with clothes as much as possible, exposed skin areas will still remain. In addition, under the influence of high temperature, the body heats up too much, which has an extremely negative effect on health.
Myth # 5: The same sunscreen will work for the sea and summer cottages
The activity of the sun is different everywhere, and the more active it is, the higher the degree of protection should be. With an activity index of up to 4, you can afford sunbathing without UV protection, or with minimal protection - for example, with SPF 15. With a UV index of 4 to 10, you can go outside only when you apply sunscreen. And with a UV index of 11, you should not go outside.
Myth # 6: Dividing sunscreen into categories "for body" and "for face" is just a marketing ploy
In fact, this is indeed the case. The most that can be a difference is in the texture of the protector. It is very convenient to apply an emulsion or spray on large areas of skin. For the face, creams are mainly used, which are much easier to apply in a thicker layer. Therefore, if we are talking about the convenience of application, such a division is really justified.
Myth # 7: One sunscreen will work for all skin types
The degree of protection is determined by two factors: skin color (phototype) and ultraviolet index. The lighter the skin, the stronger the UV protection should be. The first and second phototype, as a rule, require an SPF of at least 30, and in sunny hot weather - at least 50. People with a dark skin tone may use a lower degree of protection (read also: “How to determine your skin type (once and for all) ").
Myth # 8: Protect your skin only in the sun
The fact is that ultraviolet light has several spectra: for example, spectrum A passes even through a closed window. Although it does not produce a tan, it can lead to photoaging and increase the risk of malignant tumors. Through an open window, ultraviolet radiation passes completely. Therefore, if a person sits directly in front of a window - it does not matter whether it is closed or open - ultraviolet light affects him in one way or another.
Myth # 9: Waterproof sunscreen can be applied once a day
In reality, this is not the case, since during the day the cream is easily washed off by movement and as a result of contact with clothing. Therefore, you need to completely renew your sunscreen at least every two hours, whether it is waterproof or not.
Myth 10: When the skin is already tanned, you can use a lighter degree of protection
When it comes to sunburn, this is true. Indeed, if the skin has already darkened, the likelihood of burns is extremely low. But if we are talking about concepts such as photoaging (read also: "Sunscreens and more: we slow down skin aging"), the risk of developing cancer and malignant neoplasms on the skin, in this case, regardless of the degree of sunburn, you should protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation as much as possible. The chemical factor cream should be applied about 20-30 minutes before sun exposure. For products with a physical protection factor, this does not matter, so you can apply the cream to your skin just before going outside.
About the expert:
Photo: Getty Images
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