Protecting ourselves from sun damage isn’t just a beauty mantra but also one that safeguards our health. Here’s what you’re getting wrong about UV protection. By Janice Sim
1. You don’t wear sunscreen underneath your T-shirt.
We tend to only apply sunscreen on exposed areas like our arms and legs before heading out of the house, however you can still get sun exposure through your clothing. Unless you’re wearing clothes that has UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), make sure to slather sunscreen underneath thin fabrics like your everyday T-shirt as well.
2. You depend on sunscreens with SPF 100 to protect yourself for the whole day.
The truth is, higher SPFs doesn’t mean better sun protection. Opting for a sunscreen with an SPF ranging from 30-50 is good enough, but that includes reapplication. This will keep you protected against UVB rays, which normally causes sunburns, pigmentations and premature skin aging. However we need protection from both UVB and UVA, both which amounts to equally damaging radation for our skin. The key is to look out for UVA-blocking ingredients in your sunscreen. These products are usually labelled as “broad-spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection”.
3. You leave your sunscreen in a hot car.
Extreme heat can weaken its effectiveness as most preseveratives used in sunscreens are typically designed and tested in room temperatures.
4. You don’t reapply your sunscreen just because it’s labelled “waterproof”.
There’s no definite thing called a “waterproof” sunscreen, as you will still need to reapply it once you’re in the water. These water-resistant products can only delay the amount of time needed for the next reapplication.
5. You indulge in one, too many cocktails while lounging at the beach.
Think twice about doubling up on those refreshing piña coladas by the beach as taking in an excessive amount of sugar and alcohol can cause inflammation in our skin and will lead to the release of more free radicals. The harsh sunlight plays a significant part in suppressing your immune system.
6. You skip wearing sunscreen on a cloudy day.
We are usually falsely led to thinking that harsh sunlight leads to harsh UV rays. Unfortunately, UV radiation is still present even on rainy days. We might not see or feel it, but the effects of it on a gloomy day can be damaging if we don’t choose to protect ourselves with sunscreen.