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The real deal on sunscreen

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We're here to bust some myths about sunscreen, an important way to protect yourself from environmental stress caused by the sun! Here are a few myths we're happy to debunk: 

I only need sunscreen on sunny days in the summer.


While complete cloud cover does help decrease UV exposure, broken clouds and partly-cloudy skies can reflect and enhance exposure. Additionally, in the winter time, the sun is still shining. Snow can reflect sunlight, too. As a result, it's important to pay attention to this environmental stressor 365 days a year.

Applying sunscreen once a day is enough.


The American Academy of Dermatology recommends reapplying sunscreen every two hours, and every hour when swimming or doing outdoor activities that make you sweat. This reapplication is especially important given that people tend to use only ¼ to ½ of the amount of sunscreen required to achieve the SPF listed on the bottle.

I can’t get sun damage indoors.


It's true that UVB light, the biggest culprit in environmental stress for our skin, doesn't pass through windows. But UVA light can pass through many types of glass. In fact, one study showed that people who had one side of their face exposed to sunlight through a window for a prolonged period of time had more wrinkles, rougher skin and more uneven skin tone on that side of their face compared to the unexposed side (Mac-Mary S, Assessment of cumulative exposure to UVA through the study of asymmetric facial aging, Clinical Interventions in Aging, 2010). A stunning example is this case report of a truck driver of 28- years with severe aging only on one side of his face.

Image courtesy NEJM: http://bit.ly/2n4pJsG

Sunscreen in my makeup protects me.


Nope. As we discussed before, the amount of sunscreen required to achieve the label SPF is pretty thick. This would likely mean layers and layers of makeup. This is why we recommend using sunscreen in addition to makeup (although an SPF-rated moisturizer, primer, or foundation like those in our post These are the best SPF foundations will help build more protection from environmental stress!) Make sure to cover areas outside your face like your neck, your chest and your hands, too!

Sunscreen will make me vitamin D deficient.


The scientific jury is still out on this. Researchers have difficulty finding subjects who consistently apply enough sunscreen to test this! No question, though, Vitamin D is a very important nutrient for our health. Vitamin D-rich foods and supplements are smart ways to ensure that you have enough D in your system. To help make this easier, The Base Layer contains 100% your recommended value of Vitamin D3!

Have you heard these myths? What are other things you've heard about sun protection that you'd like to know what the science says? Ask us below!

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2 comments

  • | Jana

    Are sunspots reversible? BoJ

  • | Juliet Shield-Taylor

    What are the potential side effects, if any, of using Sundots daily?