10 of the Most Common SPF Myths Debunked

10 of the Most Common SPF Myths Debunked: Flat lay image of Vichy Capital Soleil Solar Protective Water Hydrating SPF50, SunSense Daily Face Invisible Tint Finish SPF50+, Avene Anti-ageing Suncare Very High Protection Tinted SPF50+, REN Clean Screen Mineral Sunscreen SPF30

So you’re aware of how crucial sun protection is, but what about those myths that you keep hearing regarding usage and effectiveness? It’s difficult to know what to believe sometimes.

It’s vital to be armed with the right information so that you and your loved ones can enjoy the sun safely without the risk of damaging your skin. That’s why I wanted to get to the bottom of some of the most common SPF theories and finally share the truth with you.

Suncare Myths Debunked


#1 You only need to wear sunscreen in the summer or when the sun is out.

FALSE – Even if it’s cloudy, UVA and UVB rays are still out, which means your skin still needs protection wherever you are. You may feel cooler on a cloudy day, but the reality is your skin is still susceptible to cellular damage – the clouds will only filter less than 25% of the UV rays that can cause skin cancer.

The experts at Ultrasun say ‘Sun protection is now very much part of a daily skincare routine and anyone serious about their skincare will know that UVA & UVB protection is a daily core component.’


#2 You can’t catch the sun through a window.

FALSE – Although it’s true that indoors you are mostly protected from the damaging UVB rays, but UVA and HEVL can penetrate through glass. If you spend lots of time driving or sitting near a window at work for instance, then long-term, your skin could be at risk of UVA-damage (ageing and pigmentation) if you don’t shield your skin with sun protection.


#3 Darker skin tones don’t need to use a high-level SPF.

FALSE – Those with olive or skin of colour often think that sunscreen isn’t necessary. Still, the reality is, even though darker skin is more protected from sun damage with a natural SPF of around 13.4, it is still vulnerable to sun damage. The other fact you need to consider is that ALL skin types become less and less able to protect themselves the more time you spend out in the sun, and while deeper skin tones can get away with lower protection, you’ll still need a high level of UVA protection. I recommend a broad-spectrum SPF to everyone for complete safety.


#4 I’m already tanned so I won’t burn.

FALSE – You want to know the truth? A tan will only offer you a sun protection factor (SPF) of around 3, so it’s not enough to protect you from burning and sun damage. Don’t be fooled, use SPF 30 and 50 to ensure you can stay in the sun longer without burning, but don’t forget to reapply!


#5 My makeup has SPF in it, so I’m covered.

FALSE – Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and one that many people are lulled into a false sense of security with. Even if your makeup label claims to offer sun protection, it’s been said that you’d have to apply 15 layers of foundation to also get close to the level of protection stated on the bottle! I mean let’s face it, caked makeup is never a good look, is it? An easier and far more practical solution is to apply a facial SPF under your makeup. Avene B-Protect is one of the best and also has a slight tint to it for an added helping of coverage.

Another recommendation of mine is Ultrasun Face Anti-Ageing Formula SPF30 – it doubles up as a primer because it dries matte under makeup and will keep your skin protected and fresh-feeling all day.

10 of the most common SPF myths debunked: Avene Sun Care Very High Protection B-Protect SPF50+


#6 The higher the SPF, the more protected I am.

TRUE – SPF or ‘sun protection factor’ is representative of how much sun exposure you’re getting when you’re outside. SPF 15 protects against 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 protects against 97%, and SPF 50 is around 98%. But what about UVA? You need to make sure your SPFs have the UVA approved circle to ensure you’re protected from all rays, or better still, use a broad-spectrum SPF to the ultimate protection.

The right amount for your whole body is a shot glass full of sunscreen (about 30g), and you need to be applying it every 2 hours if you’re out in the sun.


#7 You can’t tan while wearing sunscreen.

FALSE – A tan is produced with UV radiation that comes into contact with the skin. As the cells penetrate to the lower layers of the epidermis, cells begin to produce melanin. Sunscreen protects the skin from the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun – therefore, prolonging the time a person can spend outside without getting burnt. You can, however, tan while wearing sunscreen. For instance, if your skin would usually take ten minutes to show signs of burning, an SPF 50 would extend this by 50 times. Sunscreen only extends the length of time until burning takes place but will not affect how deeply a person will tan or how long it will take to show a tan.


#8 You can’t get sunburned while you’re in the water.

FALSE – UVB rays can still penetrate the water, especially if it’s a swimming pool and it’s shallow. In addition to that, sunlight can reflect off the water and onto parts of the body that are not immersed in the water, causing increased UV exposure. Water-resistant sunscreen is a must if you’re splashing around in the sun – and don’t forget to reapply after you’ve dried off!

I love the Shiseido WetForce Invisible Feel Sports Protective Mist SPF50+ because it works harder when it comes into contact with water or sweat to protect your skin thanks to innovative technology exclusive to Shiseido.


#9 I’ve been sunburnt before, so there’s no point in protecting myself now – the damage is already done.

FALSE – Your body is equipped with sophisticated repair mechanisms that can fix some of the damage that sunburn can cause. However, you need help from free-radical fighting antioxidants such as vitamin C and E to repair cellular damage. Future protection is a must if you’ve experienced previous damage to your skin; this is because damage is cumulative rather than a one-time event. Every time you experience UV rays, and sunburn, you are increasing your risk of skin cancer. So if you’ve been bad in the past at protecting yourself – it’s never too late to start!


#10 A high SPF will last all day long.

FALSE – It’s simple, using a high SPF just once a day just isn’t going to protect you. SPF numbers are based on how much sunscreen will block UVB rays from damaging your skin over to two hours. After that, the protection decreases, and you’re putting your skin at risk again. You should be applying sun protection every two hours for it to remain effective.

Over to you…

Do you have a suncare question for us? Join in the conversation using the hashtag #AskEscentual Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and we’ll answer it for you!


Discover More:

How To Fit SPF In Your Daily Routine
SPF Terms Made Simple

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