Sun Protection: Fact and Fiction

Sun Protection: Fact and Fiction

Sun protection should be a part of everyone’s daily routine particularly as the summer arrives. Regardless whether it is cloudy or sunny, cold or warm, ultraviolet radiation damages the skin causing wrinkles, pigmentation, aging and skin cancer. Sunscreen is an important part of an overall sun protection plan but that plan should also include sun avoidance, sun protective clothing, hats, sun glasses and seeking shade. Please view our UV facts page to learn more about sun safety tips.

There are several misconceptions about sun protection that are important to clear up so that you can do your best to take care of your skin and avoid problems later in life.

  1. “I wear sunscreen, it’s in my makeup.”

    Although sunscreen is commonly found in makeup, it is typically not applied thickly enough to be considered adequate. It is better to use a sunscreen with SPF 30-50 which is thoroughly applied first, then apply makeup over the sunscreen. Alternatively, tinted sunscreens are a great option to replace foundation.

  2. “High SPF sunscreens are useless since SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV-B rays while SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV-B rays.”

    In the laboratory, under perfect conditions, this fact may be true, but in real world use, people use approximately 1/3 of the amount of sunscreen they need to adequately cover their skin. So the “real world” SPF is much less when used at that lower amount. In addition, sunscreen sweats off and rubs off, effectively decreasing the SPF. So, when outside for hours, it is much better to start with the highest SPF you can find in order to compensate for real world situations.

  3. “I got so much sun as a kid, there is nothing I can do about it now.”

    No matter how many sun tans or burns you got as a child, it still helps to be good today! The damage is cumulative. Sun that you get now is just as damaging as sun you got years ago. All sun exposure leads to premature aging and skin cancer. It is never too late to start a comprehensive sun protection plan.

  4. “I have dark skin, so I don’t really need sun protection.”

    No matter what your skin color, sun protection is still important. We remove skin cancers in darkly pigmented patients every day. Sun related aging (wrinkles and pigmentation) affects all skin types, adding years to your appearance regardless of skin type.

Start protecting your skin today if you haven’t already started. If you are already protecting your skin, look for ways to improve. For more information and links on sun protection, see our web site: or

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