10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Sunscreen, But You Absolutely Should
You know that age old saying, black don't crack? Well not wearing sun block will definitely negate that saying. Sunscreen is your protection against the sun's rays. Although statistically melanin rich skin tends to age at a slower pace than people with less melanin, we still age, and not protecting your skin from the sun can cause speed up that aging as well.
There are a lot of information about sunscreen that the average person does not know, and I am here to share them with you.
1. Not wearing sunscreen every day can cause long term skin damage.
You should wear sunscreen Every. Single. Day. You read it right. EVERY DAY. You're supposed to wear sun screen every day of the year. As long as you're outside, you should have it on. Protect your skin at all costs.
2. There are 2 types of sunscreens.
Chemical sunscreens (anything with sun-protective chemicals like oxybenzone, octisalate, or avobenzone), should be applied at least 30 minutes before going in the sun. The reason for this is that it needs time to get into the skin for the protection to work. Physical sunscreens with non chemical like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (like my Cara Hermosa Butter w/ spf protection or my Tropical Fusion Sun Protection Stick) can be applied at any time as it offers immediate protection.
3. You're not wearing enough sunscreen.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, you should use 1 oz of sunscreen for your entire body every 2 hours if you're outside all day.
4. Do not use expired sunscreens.
Expired sunscreen literally dies. All its active ingredients are rendered useless leaving your fully exposed to the sun's rays and it can also cause skin irritation, so if it's expired throw it away and buy a new one. Also, if you're using sunscreen properly you should never have one long enough for it to expire anyways.
5. High SPFs (above 50) are misleading.
SPF 30 can block about 97% of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 50 gives the impression that it protects way more, but in reality, it only blocks 1% more than SPF 30. Anything really above 30 does the same amount of work. So sticking with ranges between 30-50When looking for protection, try to find broad spectrum protection because those block out both UVA and UVB rays.
6. Dark skinned people need to wear sunscreen too.
Our environment has changed over the years, and the rays penetrate our atmospheric layers way more than before. It is a myth that dark skin does not need protection. The truth of the matter is, it's harder to tell when dark skin has developed cancerous moles and by then, it has progressed significantly which is why our mortality rates are higher.
7. Standing in the shade does not protect you from the sun.
Going outside when it's cloudy or standing in the shade doesn't protect you from the sun's rays, so you should still protect your skin regardless.
8. I don't wear SPF because I'm allergic.
First things first. Do you know what particular ingredient you're allergic to? Most people who are allergic to sunscreen tend to be allergic to the chemical kinds. They can cause two different types of reactions. Contact allergies that can lead to dermatitis which can happen regardless of whether you're in the sun or not, or photocontact allergies that occur the sun's rays have contacted the sun screen that has already penetrated your skin. The rays changes the chemicals which causes the allergen. This happens almost as soon as the sun makes contact with your skin. If you try the physical barrier types and they do not work, you might need to contact your dermatologist for other options.
9. Avoid oxybenzone.
Oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor and an allergen and found in 70% of non-mineral sunscreens. It is used as an ultraviolet filtering ingredient. If you're having reactions to sunscreens, check to see if this is one of the ingredients because this might be the culprit.
10. Your sunscreen should protect you from UVA and UVB rays.
Most sunscreens only protect you from UVB rays because that's the rays that cause burning, but sunscreen should also protect you from UVA rays. UVA rays are the ones that pass right through your skin and cause the damage to your dermis. This is bad because that's where your new skin cells are produced, along with your elastin and collagen. Because of that, it can cause sun spots, wrinkles and more at any time in the future. Ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide protect against both UVA and UVB. Avobenzone and Mexoryl offer UVA protection as well.
The chemical sunscreens that are most frequently reported as the cause of allergies are octocrylene, benzophenone-3, benzophenone-10 and octyl methoxycinnamate (OM).
There are so many sunscreens on the market, that it's hard to know what works well or what will work for you. I have compiled a comprehensive list of 40+ different sunscreens based on skin types, whether they moisturize or are makeup based, water resistant and dark skin friendly (to avoid looking like Sammy Sosa.)