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Sunburn Myths and Facts Revealed

4 Scary Sunburn Myths Revealed

We're excited to share this enlightening article from Allure:

The next time you're hanging out at the beach, you might want to watch what you say about sunscreen, or at least speak a little softer—you never know, a beauty editor might be lounging next to you, hanging on your every word. Case in point: I recently got back from vacation in Mexico, and after a week of relaxing at the beach and in the pool, I heard some of the most ridiculous, and potentially dangerous, statements made about wearing (and not wearing) sunscreen. Not one to get involved with strangers, I instead eavesdropped on vacationers' conversations, then turned to my boyfriend and lectured him on sun safety (not entirely necessary, as he was doused from head to toe in SPF 75 due to my incessant nagging). Upon my return, I immediately sent a list of all the things I overheard on my trip to Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Consider this an Allure version of Mythbusters—the skin-care edition. See the sunscreen myths — and get the truth — when you keep reading.

Overheard: "Anything over SPF 30 is the same—the higher SPFs don't give you any more protection."

Truth: "Incorrect. A higher SPF gives more protection—that is a tested, proven fact. Plus, the higher numbers absorb high-energy, free-radical-producing rays. But remember, regardless of the level of SPF, reapplication every two hours is a must," says Graf.

Overheard: "She has dark skin and won't burn, so she doesn't have to wear sunscreen."

Truth: "Women with darker skin won't burn as easily, but she must wear sunscreen," Graf explains. Whether you burn easily or not, the sun's rays can still cause wrinkles and skin cancer.

Overheard: "If you're wearing foundation, you don't need sunscreen. A layer of makeup will protect your skin from the sun."

Truth: Makeup will not act as a barrier for UV rays, even if it has an added SPF. "Testing has shown that the SPF protection from a makeup product alone is insufficient. That small amount of SPF is always a nice addition, but not enough to protect your skin," says Graf. Always apply sunscreen (or a moisturizer with broad-spectrum sun protection) under your makeup. If you're worried about your skin looking greasy, there are plenty of great mattifying options for the face. I love Chanel UV Essentiel Multi-Protective UV Care SPF 50.

Overheard: "You're at the greatest risk for skin cancer as a kid. I'm in my 60s and way beyond that now."

Truth: "Unfortunately, we are all at risk for burns," says Graf. "It's nothing you grow out of—sunburns are ageless."

More stories from Allure:
Six cool humidity-proof hairstyles
How to fake a French braid along the hairline

Image Source: Thinkstock
sammypants sammypants 6 years
Just to echo commenter #3, this is from the FDA's website: "In addition to the final regulations, FDA is proposing a regulation that would require sunscreen products that have SPF values higher than 50 to be labeled as 'SPF 50+.' FDA does not have adequate data demonstrating that products with SPF values higher than 50 provide additional protection compared to products with SPF values of 50." Now, the FDA isn't the be all and end all of reliable information, but I feel that they do examine quite a few studies in making recommendations. I've come across quite a few doctors who don't even attempt to read the latest studies or information.
Renees3 Renees3 6 years
I love how a dermatologist just said that the higher numbers DO protect and people still say it doesn't. It might not be a TON of a difference, but it's there/ I mean really, who cares, just wear it!
GummiBears GummiBears 6 years
Well I have darker skin and oddly enough I got my first sunburn when I was in the Caribbeans a couple of years ago. But I had an itchy sunburn, not the typical "Ow my skin is so sensitive to the slightest touch" sunburn. It was confirmed by a derm at the time. But typically when I am out of the Tropic of Cancer/Capricorn area, I don't get burned. But ironically I am indoors most of the peak hours.
cclouisvuitton cclouisvuitton 6 years
But it's true that if the SPF is over 60, it really doesn't matter.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 6 years
Yeah, and my favorite: "I just need to get a base tan so I don't burn." So not true.
gingirl gingirl 6 years
I always hear things like this, even while just walking around outside. I also hear people saying things like "Oh, sunscreen has such toxic ingredients, it's better to go without it. It's the sunscreen that will give you cancer."
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