Most people know that sunscreen is important, as it protects against one of the leading causes of skin cancer and the visible signs of aging: sun damage. However, with the swarm of skincare content and advice available today, there are quite a few myths that circulate about sunscreen on a regular basis. Here are five common sunscreen misconceptions, debunked.

1. You only need sunscreen if you’re going outside

It’s important to wear sunscreen every single day, even if you’re not planning on leaving the house. The sun’s UV rays can still reach you through your windows, bouncing around the walls of your home, especially those that are light-colored. Similarly, don’t skip your sunscreen when it’s cloudy outside. As long as the sun is shining its light, it’s also sharing its skin-damaging rays.

2. Only people with light skin need to wear sunscreen

It is true that people with darker skin have a greater degree of natural protection from the sun than people with light skin, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need sunscreen. To be protected, you need to wear a sunscreen that has at least SPF 30. Dark skin generally has a natural SPF of about 13, tops.

3. Applying sunscreen once a day is enough

If you put sunscreen on in the morning and then don’t think about sun protection for the rest of the day, you may not actually be as protected as you think. Sunscreen’s effectiveness wears off a few hours after you apply it. To keep yourself safe, you should reapply your sunscreen every four hours, at minimum. If you’re outside in direct sunlight, especially if you are swimming or sweating, aim to reapply every two hours.

4. If your makeup contains SPF, you don’t need a separate sunscreen

Lots of makeup and face moisturizers have some sun protection in them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll protect you all day. In fact, they might not be effective at all, regardless of what they advertise. It takes a generous application of sunscreen to prevent skin damage — you should aim to use about a shot glass’ worth of sunscreen over your whole body. Chances are you aren’t applying nearly that much makeup or moisturizer, and you’re most likely not reapplying these products in the middle of the day, either. Always use sunscreen as the last step in your skincare routine, regardless of whether your other products contain SPF benefits.

5. Using sunscreen could make you deficient in vitamin D

It is true that your body synthesizes Vitamin D with the help of sun exposure, but sunscreen doesn’t prevent the process that creates Vitamin D in your skin from happening. Firstly, no matter how vigilant you are about applying sunscreen regularly, it is hard to protect your entire body all the time, so you’re still likely to get a little exposure to UV rays. Secondly, you can also get your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D from the foods you eat or from supplements.

Skincare Expertise You Can Trust

Still have questions about how to avoid sun damage to your skin this summer? Looking for ways to refresh your skin for a summer of fun? Whatever your interests or needs, Seattle Skin and Laser is here to help. Our experienced and board-certified dermatologists can give you an examination and recommend our professional-grade treatments that can help you achieve healthy, beautiful, radiant skin.