Top Sunscreen Myths – Busted

Are you one among those hundreds of people who is utterly puzzled regarding the usage of sunscreens? Well, its not your fault at all. There are hosts of misleading information all around us regarding almost every beauty product and sunscreens are no exception. So, if you are a confused soul unable to decide the when’s, how’s and what’s of sunscreen usage, this post can help you considerably.

My main aim in this post is to bust some of the most prevalent misconceptions or myths about the usage of sunscreens, with proofs. Yes! Some of these may even leave you doubting your beliefs about sunscreens. So read on –

Dark-skinned Beauties can Skip Sunscreen

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“This is just profoundly, radically false,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a Boston dermatologist and past president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery in an article in the Reader’s Digest

The damage causing Ultra-violet rays from the sun, does not have the time or patience to choose skin colors or ethnic backgrounds before they penetrate your skin.

In another post, Jeanine Downie, M.D., a dermatologist in private practice in Montclair, N.J., says “While people with lighter skin tones tend to see fine lines and wrinkles show up first, people of color will see changes in pigmentation that lead to dark patches and uneven skin tone.”

Although tanning or pigmentation may be less visible on warmer skin tones, the damage caused to the skin is no less. So, to all those tanned beauties, apply sunscreen generously and save your beautiful skin shade from any damage.

No need of Sunscreen During the Monsoons

Monsoons, of course, come as a pleasant relief to cool off the scorching summer heat. These are times when the dark overcast sky hides the sun almost throughout the day. Thus, forgetting about the sunscreen or maybe ignoring it due to the absence of the direct sunlight is common with many of us. However, even if we pay less or no heed to the sun during the monsoons, the UV rays do not forget us even during these times.

So, skincare experts and dermatologists throughout the world stress that a sunscreen lotion containing essential ingredients for UV-A and UV-B protection is an absolute must. Furthermore, it is advisable that you carry a pocket-sized product with you, whenever you step out for long hours, so that you can always re-apply in case you get drenched in a sudden downpour, causing your previously applied sunscreen to wash-off.

Sunscreens won’t Get You enough Vitamin D from the Sun

Little did I pay heed to the importance of Vitamin D for our health, until my husband was diagnosed with a deficiency, of late. Other than pills, our physician advised him to get a good daily dosage of direct sunlight in order to get the Vitamin D levels to the desirable count. It is a very common phenomenon of being Vitamin D deficient these days and people often believe that if you step out into the sun after applying your sunscreen, this acts as a guard, thus preventing the absorption of vitamin D into the skin. This is an absolute myth.

Those of you who have been diagnosed with similar deficiencies but are worried of getting tanned when exposed to direct sunlight without a sunscreen, there is good news for you. In a recent study, researchers from the Dermatology Institute of London’s King’s College, have found that vitamin D gets absorbed into the skin even after sunscreen is put on. Make sure you use a lotion that has an SPF of 15 and apply it evenly on the exposed parts of your body. Not only will your skin remain protected, your skin shall absorb Vitamin D too. In fact, direct exposure to the sun’s rays without a protective sun-block for a long period of time, can result not only in sun-burns, wrinkles and freckles, but also cause skin cancer.

The Higher the SPF, the More the Protection

This is something even I believed, until a few days ago. In fact, for my honeymoon tour to Ladakh, I ended up buying a sunblock with SPF 100+, hoping for ultimate protection, only to be left disheartened. The sunblock after being applied, not only failed to prevent any tan, but also left an irritating white cast on my face. While researching on this, I landed on some facts that will make you think twice before you opt for a higher SPF.

Dr. Steven Q. Wang, (MD and director of dermatological surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at Basking Ridge, NJ), has remarked, “An SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93 percent of UVB radiation, while an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks nearly 97 percent…above SPF 50 (which blocks an estimated 98 percent of UVB rays), the increase in UVB protection is minimal.”

So, like you can see, there is a difference of  only about 5% in the protection quotient between an SPF of 15 and 50+. On the other hand, a rise on the SPF requires more chemicals to be put into the product, thereby adding more toxins to your skin. According to an article in the Hindustan Times, for our tropical Indian climate, an SPF of 15 to 30 is absolutely perfect.

Few useful Suggestions

Having said all that, I hope some of your confusions and misconceptions have been addressed so far. So, instead of fretting about these myths, start using your sunscreens correctly and generously every time you step out of home, or even if you are at home, because the UV rays know no boundary.

  • Choose your sunscreens wisely according to your skin type
  • Apply the right amount evenly on every exposed part of your body
  • Re-apply every 2-3 hours if your are constantly out in the sun
  • Do a patch test before buying a new sunscreen

and you are good to go!

Remember, no sunscreen will give you 100% protection. Its always good to carry scarves, umbrellas and shades to give your sin that much needed extra protection.

Still confused? Write to me regarding your questions or confusions with sunscreen usage, and I shall be happy to help with whatever knowledge I have. Also let me know if I have been able to address any of your confusions and share any tips or suggestions you have, regarding sunscreen usage.

Happy sunbathing! 🙂




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