8 Myths About Sun Protection And SPF You Thought Were True
Whether you’ve lived in Singapore all your life or just came here a few years ago, you will be well-acquainted with Singapore’s hot weather. Being an equatorial country means we experience summer all-year round – if we can even call it summer. Which is why it’s important to protect yourself against the harmful UV rays. It’s not about getting tanned – it’s about the risk of skin cancer that comes along with sun exposure. Cancer Research UK debunked eight myths to help you stay safe all year long.
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Text: AFP RelaxNews
Additional text: Hidayah Idris
Myth 1: 'The sun is strongest when it's hottest'
The heat of the sun doesn’t come from its skin-damaging UV rays. UV rays are strongest when the sun is highest in the sky. If you want to head outside and enjoy the good weather best to do it when the sun’s rays are lower, and the risk of burning won’t be as high.
Myth 3: 'Sun damage always looks red and peely'
Skin doesn’t necessarily peel, but if it has turned red or pink in the sun, that’s sunburn, and it’s dangerous due to the damage the UV rays cause to DNA inside cells. If your skin goes pink but then a tan develops that still counts as a burn. However, you can’t always see the damage. Those with naturally darker skin might just feel irritated, tender or itchy skin rather than see a color change.
Myth 2: 'You can't get sun damage through glass'
Being indoors means you are mostly protected from sunburn, but some UV rays can get through glass. If you spend lots of time driving or sitting in a conservatory when the sun is strong, then long-term you might be at risk of damage from UVA rays. If sitting by a window you can protect your skin with clothes and sunscreen with 4 or more stars.
Myth 4: 'The occasional sunburn doesn't make much difference'
Getting a sunburn doesn’t mean you will definitely go on to develop skin cancer, but even one every two years can triple the risk of melanoma. If you have been sunburnt in the past, think about what you can do to protect your skin next time.
Myth 5: 'Higher SPF sunscreens are much better than lower SPF ones'
No sunscreen is 100% effective and choosing a higher SPFs doesn’t add much extra protection. In fact, it might even encourage you to spend longer in the sun than you should. Choose a minimum of SPF 15 and make sure your sunscreen has 4 stars or more for UVA protection.
Myth 6: 'A 'base tan' will protect me on holiday'
Some people think getting a tan before they go on holiday, from the sun or a sunbed, will protect them from burning once they arrive at their destination. However, a tan offers very little protection against the sun. Some studies have found that tans only offer protection equivalent to using factor 3 sunscreen, and tans from sunbeds could be as low as SPF 1. So make sure you apply minimum SPF 15 sunscreen.
Myth 7: 'Putting sunscreen on once is enough'
Once is not enough, even if it says once-a-day on the label. All sunscreens should be re-applied regularly, and some products rub, wash or sweat off more easily than others. It’s also really easy to miss parts of your body so put plenty on; regular applications will help ensure you’ve got everywhere covered.
Myth 8: 'Sunscreen lasts forever'
Nearly all of us hang on to bottles of sunscreen left over from previous holidays, but when you’re packing for your next one check if it is still safe to use, as most sunscreens go out of date. To check look out for a small open jar icon on the bottle, which will show the number of months the product can be used for after opening. And if you do need to replace your sunscreen don’t worry about buying the most expensive — it’s the SPF and star rating that is important, not the price.