Sunscreen: Ten Myths and Facts to Know

By February 22, 2018 January 22nd, 2019 Health
Sunscreen Facts and Myths

You and your family probably spend a good deal of time lounging around your pool, especially on a nice sunny day. However, when it comes to using sunscreen to prevent burning, there are many false ideas out there. We at Pool Troopers want you to be safe and enjoy family poolside fun, so we are exposing the 10 most popular myths that revolve around the use of sunscreen.

1. Myth: It does not matter how you apply sunscreen if you do it.
This is not true; it is recommended by doctors that about an ounce be applied and reapplied every two hours.

2. Myth: People that have darker skin are not harmed as much by the sun.
Though the risk of burning is lowered a bit by Melanin, the pigment present in darker skin, it is only reduced by an SPF of about 2. It is equally as important for all individuals out in the sun to use sunscreen to protect against aging, sunburn and skin cancer.

3. Myth: Most sun damage occurs prior to the age of 18.
Research from The American Skin Cancer Foundation has shown that only 25% of the total of UV exposure happens before the age of 18. You should be protecting your skin with sunscreen and clothing at any age, old or young.

4. Myth: Sunscreens work at the SPF advertised.
Tested by Consumer Reports in 2016, some sunscreens fell short of what was advertised on the label. However, they did find many that lived up to their claims. You can read more about these claims here. It was suggested that buying sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or more may make up for any shortfall in protection if present.

5. Myth: Your body’s Vitamin D levels will be lowered with the use of sunscreen.
You need only about 15 minutes a day of exposure to the sun for Vitamin D. Vitamin D is not made continuously after those 15 minutes. You add to its intake through foods such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, cheese and fortified milk.

6. Myth: No sunscreen is needed if your sit under a beach umbrella, because rays are blocked.
Sand and surrounding surfaces reflect approximately 17% of UV radiation. Tests have been shown that 80% of those who sat under an umbrella without sunscreen for 3.5 hours still had some amounts of sunburn. Learn more at Berkeley Wellness.

7. Myth: A base tan protects you.
With a suntan already in place, you have protection of approximately an SPF of 4. It is still very important to apply sunscreen regularly, as you can further damage skin without it.

8. Myth: Sunscreen never expires.
Using sunscreen after the expiration date puts you at risk, as some ingredients can break down over time and be ineffective. A good rule of thumb is to toss expired sunscreen and purchase a new bottle after the expiration date has passed.

9. Myth: Some sunscreen brands are entirely waterproof.
Although it reads “waterproof” on the label, no brand is completely waterproof. Sunscreen should always be reapplied after water exposure, as it can become less effective when immersed. You should also wait about 10 to 15 minutes before entering the water to allow the product to settle on your skin.

10. Myth: Sunscreen can cause health problems.
This myth came about after an older study which exposed rats to an active ingredient in sunscreen known as oxybenzone, causing some problems to the rats’ bodies. A later study pointed out that the previous study had used a very high exposure to oxybenzone. Humans, who have a much lower exposure rate, would not develop such issues even if they used it regularly. The study pointed out that after 40 years of popular use, sunscreens have not shown toxic effects on humans.

Before you buy your next bottle, spray or tube, be aware of the myths that surround its use. The best products should say “broad spectrum” to cover all waves of light.

While lounging around your pool, think of Pool Troopers for any questions you may have regarding your pool’s maintenance and service and feel free to contact us. We want you to enjoy your pool in a safe, relaxing, and healthy environment.