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10 Worst Mistakes in Sun Damage Protection

Monday, June 29th, 2015


I got these off AOL a week or so ago. I tried to find the source to just create a link but could not find it, so I have reproduced them and added my own comments. If you want skin that is healthy and looks good, the absolute number one thing you can do is protect it from the sun. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation that leads to these mistakes.

  1. The attitude that “the damage has been done.”  Damage from the sun is cumulative, so every day you are continually getting more damage. The more damage you receive, the more likely you are to have visible damage.
  2. Not wearing Sun Glasses.  The sun not only causes skin damage, but also damages the cornea, lens, and retina. There is evidence that some astigmatism and cataracts are caused by sun damage.
  3. Avoiding sunscreen around the eyes.  Everyone worries about dark areas and crinkles around the eyes. Both these are, to some extent, sun damage.
  4. Looking only at SPF.  SPF is TOTALLY WORTHLESS as far as telling you whether the sunscreen will protect you from skin damage. All it says is that the sunscreen will protect you from UVB and getting a sunburn. UVA is the part of the sun causing long term damage. Instead of checking SPF, you need to check the ingredients. Avobenzone will block UVA, but needs to be applied hourly. We recommend that you look for Zinc Oxide, at least 8-14%, since it is a physical block and needs only be replied if rubbed or washed off.
  5. Relying on Label lingo.  All sunscreens are required to say whether they block UVA and/or UVB. However, just because the ingredient will block UVA does not mean it is practical. Avobenzone only lasts an hour. The only practical one is Zinc Oxide and it should be replied as often as you rub it off.
  6. Keeping the same bottle of sunscreen for months or years.  If you are doing this, you are definitely not using enough.
  7. Thinking Sunscreen is all you need.  Sunscreen is intended for the non-covered areas of your bodies. Most people think that clothing will protect from the sun. Unfortunately, regular clothing will not protect you. UVA penetrates most clothing as if it were not there. What you need is specific sun protective clothing or your regular clothing washed in Rit SunGuard every 6 months.
  8. Skimping on Sunscreen.  You need to apply an adequate amount to cover the areas generously.
  9. Skipping Sunscreen when indoors, on cloudy days or in the winter.  UVA is present morning, noon and evening, in North Dakota and south Florida, in summer and winter. It penetrates windows and bounces around inside the house. It also bounces off things outside and is, thus, present even in shade.
  10. Believing the “base tan” myth.  This is just a myth. Additionally, the way many people get their base tan is in a tanning bed, or, as we call them, “Skin Cancer Machines.”