WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT SUN PROTECTION
You probably think you’ve got this covered, at school you learnt what you’re supposed to do to protect your skin (slip, slop, slap, seek and slide) and that’s that… Well I thought so too but was recently informed I was way off! Turns out I believed a fair amount of things about sun protection that are quite misinformed, so now I want to share the truth with you to make sure we’re all on the right path.
The cosmetic industry knows that Australians are worried about the sun and that by adding SPF protection to their products they will likely sell more. However this tends to give people a false sense of safety when really the strength of the protection is so low that it’s likely to not stop much at all, and furthermore it’s not as long lasting as the makeup part of the product. If you’re working inside all day and need to go across the street one time then it’s likely you’ll be fine but otherwise you need to use real sunscreen.
A lot of people think they are being sun safe just because they chose a fake tan over a real one, and while they have avoided sun damage in the darkening of their skin, they should be aware that this tan is not protecting them from further harm from the sun. Your tanned skin might trick the people around you but the sun isn’t fooled, and remember even if it says it contain SPF it is barely anything.
If you are one of the lucky ones to have olive skin or to tan easily, do not think that you are able to forget about using sunscreen or other measures. You might not experience the pain of sunburn but that doesn’t mean that your skin isn’t being damaged by the UV rays, they are separate things and unfortunately people of any skin type can get skin cancer.
With one of the five recommendations for sun safety being ‘seek shade’ you might think that on a cloudy day you are fine with nature doing the work for you. This is not the case, and despite being told so again and again, we seem to only recognise that we might need sunscreen when we feel the heat of the sun shining down on us. What is key to understand is that what you’re feeling on a hot day is the temperature, but what causes sun damage is the UV that is capable of going through clouds. So instead of waiting for a prompt from the sun, get yourself a UV app and know when you have to protect yourself before heading out.
Another thing from marketing that could get you confused in regards to sun protection is the amount of SPF in sunscreen. You see a bottle that has SPF 50 next to one that says 30 and you might think that because you’ve spent more money on it you’re extra protected by a large amount and don’t need to reapply as often as the others. This is another myth, as while the numbers seem very different there’s actually only a very small difference and it doesn’t help the effect to last longer! So whatever you have bought be sure to put on some more after two hours or going swimming.
Are there any other myths you’ve had to debunk for your friends about sun protection? Share your comments below.