Combatting Top Sunscreen Myths

|| Written by Cole Cornejo ||

Summer is here, and despite all of the rainy days Colorado has had lately, there still is a need for everyone to brush up on their sunscreen knowledge.  I see a lot of clients with sun damage in my practice and often times they are confused about sunscreen. So in the name of great skin, let’s break down the most common sunscreen myths one by one!

Myth Number One: You Only Need Sunscreen When the Sun is Shining

When talking matters of ageing and keeping your skin looking its best throughout the years, a good sunscreen, when applied every day, is the best way to slow down ageing. Only applying when you’re out in the sun or having SPF in your makeup is simply not good enough. Makeup products containing SPF usually only protect against UVB rays and not UVA (the type of rays that are responsible for premature visible aging).  Also, when applying makeup you are most likely not getting your neck, chest and ears. Personally, I would prefer if my clients applied an SPF 15 product daily rather than an SPF 50 only when they are outside. I love my clients that use both!

Myth Number Two: Using Sunscreen Leads to Vitamin D Deficiencies

You may have heard that your body needs a little bit of direct sunlight without sunscreen to produce Vitamin D. The good news is your body can naturally produce Vitamin D even when you’re wearing sunscreen. Old studies which disputed this did not take in to consideration things like different kinds and amounts of sunscreen used. These studies also relied on artificial light rather than sunlight and failed to measure UV exposure. New studies have found that your body produces a slightly higher amount of Vitamin D while not wearing sunscreen, but not enough to counter the increased risk of skin cancer.

Myth Number Three: Sunscreen Causes Cancer

Concerns of sunscreen causing cancer are linked to studies where titanium dioxide was injected, rather than applied topically to the skin, as you would sunscreen. Also, the molecule formulation linked with these studies is much different than those that you find in sunscreens. The bigger fear should be skin cancer. One in three cancers diagnosed worldwide is skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.  Up to 95% of malignant (cancerous) melanomas are caused by excessive sun damage, which can be combatted with a good sunscreen.  Remember to follow application directions, like applying 30 minutes before you leave the house and reapplication instructions.  Look for sunscreens with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which ensure that you are protected against both UVA and UVB rays, as well as ingredients like tocopherol (Vitamin E) and resveratrol which are antioxidants to give the skin extra protection against free-radical damage. A couple of my favorite sunscreens are IS Clinicals SPF 50 and Eminences Tropical Vanilla SPF 30.

You can gain or lose weight, you can dye or cut your hair, buy new clothes to change your appearance, but the skin that you see in the mirror is the skin you have for the rest of your life.  Take care of it and treat it well.  You’ll thank yourself later!


Cole Cornejo is an Esthetician at Star Salon & Skin. Follow Cole Cornejo Skin on Facebook and on Instagram (@colecornejo) for more skin care tips.