Every year just before the beginning of the summer solstice physicians, medical journals and beauty magazines all list there special tips for maintaining healthy and radiant skin. We've heard everything from under no circumstances should anyone fake bake at a tanning salon, to always apply sunscreen to do not ignore a change in one's mole or skin appearance.
With so many rules, tips and recommendations flying around how can you really decode fact from fiction? Dr. Christina Chung, M.D., who specializes in general dermatology, ethnic skin, cosmetic dermatology and women's health, can clarify the myths behind summer skin care.
Myth one: The higher the sun protection factor (SPF), the better:
According to Chung, SPF is a measurement of ultra violet B (UVB) protection only; it does not give you an indicator of ultra violet A (UVA) protection. SPF gives one a ratio of how long it will take one's skin to burn with sunscreen. For instance if it takes your skin 10 minutes without sunscreen, than with it if the SPF is 30, you now have five hours (300 minutes). Although, you may be protecting yourself from UVB, your skin is still exposed to UVA. Her recommendation is to reapply sunscreen every two hours regardless of the SPF.
Myth two: "Broad-spectrum" Sunscreen:
UVA and UVB rays are both equally responsible for causing skin cancer and premature aging. The term "broad-spectrum" refers to the product protecting you from all, some, or none of the UVA rays. Until last year, the government did not require a definition of "broad-spectrum" and sunscreen companies were not obligated to test their products for UVA coverage. Going into effect later this year, the Food and Drug Administration stated if a sunscreen says "broad-spectrum" the sunscreen will have to demonstrate that it will protect from standardized (but not a complete) portion of UVA spectrum.
Myth three: "Waterproof" Sunscreen:
Because of the many misleading claims of advertising "waterproof" sunscreen, the new FDA guidelines will also require sunscreen companies to now use "water-resistant" for a certain time period, so people are not deceived and will now know "water-resistant" sunscreen will have to be reapplied, especially after towel drying.
Myth four: Cloudy or Rainy Days:
Nearly 80 percent of sun rays can pierce through clouds and a fog, causing health risks, so regardless of rain, sun or clouds one should always wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 15.
Myth five: People With Darker Skin Tones:
New studies revealed all forms of skin cancer are increasing among Black, Latino and Asian races. Furthermore, when found, skin cancer is at more advanced stages among those races.
Finally, Dr. Chung recommends applying sunscreen 15-30 minutes before leaving the house. Use at least two tablespoons to cover the body. Seek shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (the peek of the sun's strongest rays). Wear appropriate items that can protect your skin such as a large-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Last but very not the least, once again REAPPLY, REAPPLY, REAPPLY.