It’s unreasonably hot in my neck of the woods, and today I noticed I was sporting the beginning of a flip-flop tan. So in honor of record-high temps, the approaching summer, and all my water lovers, it’s time for the annual sunscreen blog post. So pay attention to these sunscreen myths and the rules you should follow instead.
- It’s cloudy; I don’t need sunscreen. WRONG. The truth is that while clouds do block the infrared rays that make us hot, they don’t block a majority of the UV rays, doing the actual damage to our skin. Wear a hat, wear a shirt, lather up the sunscreen. Your skin still needs protection.
- One time is good enough. Those kids won’t hold still! WRONG. Reapply, reapply, reapply. Most sunscreen applications last about two hours before it begins to break down in the light. You should reapply every two to four hours or after swimming.
- The higher the SPF, the better. WRONG. Actually, after SPF 50, additional protection is negligible. The real issue is that most people apply sunscreen incorrectly, reducing the actual protective abilities. New York City dermatologist Doris Day, MD told Reader’s Digest, “If you use SPF 50, you really get the protection of an SPF 20 based on how people actually apply it.” Focus on SPF 30-50 and make sure you apply it correctly and often. (See number two).
- Sunscreen is bad for me/I won’t get enough vitamin D. WRONG. First, it’s not as bad as skin cancer. Let’s start there. And while there is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of the chemicals in sunscreen, there are physical barrier sunblocks available, and studies are still ongoing. The current studies are over a decade old – in the meantime, skin damage and skin cancers are a very real risk. And as for the vitamin D, most of us aren’t even putting enough sunscreen to block it completely, PLUS scientists believe you only need about 5-15 minutes in the sun for adequate vitamin D production.
At One with the Water, we can’t wait to get in the pool, but please make sure you are protecting yourself and your loved ones the best way possible. So lather up and get out there. Oh, and if you haven’t gone to the pool because you don’t know how to swim, let us help you! Register for our premium adult, child, and toddler swim lessons today.
Molly is a member of our creative team, mom of four water-loving babies, and a fierce advocate for CPR training and really early swim instruction.