EST. 2010

Mythbusters: Sunscreen

Sunscreen Myths Busted

A lot has been said, written and blogged about Sunscreens.Everyone I know is scrambling to lather up on their quota of  Sunscreen, which in fact is a great thing.But unfortunately the use of Sunscreens has been plagued with myths.I would know since I’ve put to rest quite a few of them.And since I’m wasted, trying to sort out these myths I decided to compile it all under one head.
So here are ten Sunscreen myths busted.

Myth 1 
UVA and UVB is the one and the same thing
Nope it ain’t.The sun basically radiates two kinds of rays: UVB and UVA .UVB is responsible for causing tanning and sunburn and UVA which is stronger is responsible for causing ageing and skin cancer and in fact UVA is 1000 times more intense than UVB.So it makes sense that an ideal Sunscreen should provide protection against both UVB and UVA.SPF is a measure of protection against UVB while PA is a measure of protection against UVA.Buy a Sunscreen which promises broad spectrum protection with minimum SPF 20 and PA +++ for optimum protection against the Sun.

 Myth 2 
Popular brands translate to better Sunscreens
Popular brands are popular because of marketing gimmicks.Some of them might actually be worth the claims but most often that’s not the case.So never buy a Sunscreen because it is advertised more.Instead look at the list of ingredients and base your decision on that.The key ingredients to look for UVA defence are Mexoryl  Avobenzone, Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide.The first two ingredients are called chemical sunscreen ingredients and the latter two are known as physical sunscreen ingredients.Physical Sunscreen ingredients are in opaque form and are best suited for sensitive skin.These are better than Chemical Sunscreens but are not very popular since they are available in opaque form.Also avoid sheer sunscreens containing Zinc Oxide/Titanium Dioxide as they create free radicals and damage DNA.

Myth 3
SPF 10 foundation + SPF 15 moisturizer + SPF 25 sunscreen = SPF 50 worth of protection
Think hard and put your logical sense to work.Yeah sure 10 plus 15 plus 25 equals 50 except that in this case it actually equals 25, the highest in the range.So next time you load up products over products thinking you are adding to the SPF magic, don’t.If you want better sun protection opt for a sunscreen with higher SPF (35+) and then it won’t matter if your foundation or moisturizer does not have any sunscreen.

Myth 4
My sunscreen has moisturizer so I don’t need to apply a separate one
The main job of a Sunscreen is to protect against the sun.Everything else is secondary.So don’t expect your Sunscreen to have any miracle moisturizing properties.Moisturizing your skin is an imperative step towards healthy skin and totally depends on your skin type.In fact the chemicals contained in Sunscreen might actually inadvertently aggravate dryness.For proper protection Sunscreen should be applied ten minutes after moisturizing.

Myth 5
I’m dark skinned so I don’t need sunscreen
Sure people with dark skin don’t burn as easily as fair skinned people but the skin is still experiencing the damaging effects of the sun and no skin type is immune to skin cancer.Use a sunscreen irrespective of your skin colour and/or type.

    Sunscreen Myths Busted

Myth 6
My sunscreen claims to give all day protection so I don’t need to reapply
I don’t think so.Your sunscreen might provide the highest level of protection against the sun, but it’s still not immune to the whims of your body like sweat.Sunscreen is instantly diluted with your body’s oils and sweat takes care of the rest.No matter how good a sunscreen might be, you still need to reapply every two hours for adequate protection.And mind you nothing is waterproof.Your sunscreen will no longer help you after a swim either.

Myth 7 
I don’t need sunscreen when I’m indoors
That would have been fine if we only had to deal with the milder UVB rays.But no window or shade can keep out the harmful UVA rays.So you do need Sunscreen even when you are at home, office or for that matter even when you are driving.

Myth 8
Sunscreen is only required during summer months
During winters the days are shorter and the sun is not as intense as in the summer months so its a general assumption that Sunscreen can be skipped.However the skin is still exposed to the harmful UVA and UVB.In fact people who don’t wear sunscreen all year long are more susceptible to developing brown spots, red crusted spots which can eventually lead to skin cancer.Hence Sunscreen should be applied irrespective of the season or weather.

Myth 9
“ It’s better to apply sunscreen when I’m in the sun”
Yeah sure that makes a lot of sense.Have you never heard that Prevention is better than cure.And in this case there is no cure.If you wait to apply sunscreen until you’ve been in the sun for more than 20 minutes then your skin has already been exposed to the damaging effects of the sun.Sunscreen should be applied at least 15-30 minutes prior to going out into the sun and should be reapplied every two hours thereof.However if you are using Sunblock then you need not apply it prior to sun exposure since Sunblock works by reflecting the harmful Ultraviolet rays of the sun as opposed to Sunscreen which absorbs them.

 Myth 10
I don’t need sunscreen for areas covered with clothes
Lighter coloured clothes provide an SPF of 5-7 while darker coloured clothes might provide an SPF of 7-10, which might provide adequate protection if you are not exposing yourself for a longer period of time in the sun.But for prolonged exposure, your clothes will not offer much protection.Although Sun protective clothing is available in the market, its always better to apply a Sunscreen to all areas of your body whether or not they are covered by clothes.

Sunscreen Myths
I’ve been pray to quite a few of these myths myself so no judging.Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts.
PS: I got supremely tired of Intense Debate.They not only gobbled up all my previous comments but are not even helping me sort out the other issues.So I got rid of it.I figured my comments are lost as it is so why not resort to Blogger's comments.At least I won't be left in a lurch again.


  1. nice post Sonia, so which one do you recommend ??

  2. this is a cool post. read it completely and u have some great pointers there. thanks for taking the time out to put up such a long post :) realy helpful

  3. Hey thanks guys.
    Currently I'm using Sunban, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer and Avon Sunblock and I love the Neutrogena one outta the lot.Will post reviews.

  4. I've used almost every commercial sunscreen available in the market from Neutrogena, Avon, Oriflame to Lakme and each one has given me sunburns, so I've switched to a medicated sunscreen.I'm using Ansolar lotion these days and it is wonderful.It has no harmful chemicals in it and gives great protection with SPF60.I would recommend using this one.I'm planning on a detailed review soon so stay tuned.


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