With summer about to start and people getting ready to spend some time on the beach everyone is thinking about sunscreen.

There are plenty of myths around, surrounding how much you should apply, what you can use and whether moisturiser with sun protection is enough.

Her t bust the myths dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour revealed the biggest things that people get wrong – and the major mistakes made.

Image: Pexels 

Myth one: You should apply sunscreen the moment you hit the beach 

While you might leave it until you get out in the sunlight to put on your sun cream, Dr. Armour said that sunscreen ‘needs time to do its job’.

‘If you only apply it once you arrive at the beach, your skin has already been exposed to harsh UV rays and the damage has been done,’ she said.

‘More practically, it won’t absorb properly into the skin and will tend to melt off.’

To make sure that sunscreen works its magic, Dr. Armour said you should apply it at home, or at least 20 minutes before you head outdoors.

A broad spectrum high factor SPF like Cetaphil’s Suntivity SPF 50+ Ultra Light Lotion.

Myth two: My SPF moisturiser will provide as much protection as a sunscreen

With busy lives, many of us rely on our moisturiser to do the job of protecting our skin day to day.

But Dr Armour revealed this could be doing more harm than good.

She said she considers them as ‘a useful adjunct’ to proper sunscreen, and they should be layered as such. 


Myth three: All sunscreens are effective

‘Only sunscreens labelled broad spectrum protect against both types of rays – UVA and UVB,’ Dr Armour said. 

She added that UVB rays are the ones that give you sunburn, UVA rays are just as damaging because they cause skin ageing.

‘Both can increase your risk for skin cancer,’ she added.


Myth four: Adequate skincare is only for your face, not your body

These days, many women are precious about the skin on their face, opting in for pricey treatments and to wear hats to protect their complexion from the sun’s rays.

But adequate skincare isn’t just for your face but your entire body, too.

‘Your body can get just as burnt, and is also liable to develop skin cancers and sun damage,’ she added.

She also said you should never scrimp on regular skincare on your body in the summer, just because it’s warmer.

‘Opt for a shower wash that will moisturise and soothe, with ingredients like Aloe vera, oatmeal and vitamin B5, which will replenish the skin’s oil and don’t strip it away.’ 

Cetaphil’s ultra gentle body wash is a good option.


What are the major mistakes people make when applying sunscreen?

Not applying enough: ‘In terms of measurements, you need to use at least one teaspoon of sunscreen on each body part to ensure you are remaining protected from the sun,’ Dr Armour said. She added that you shouldn’t forget places like the lips, ears and the back of your neck.

Applying too late: A slapdash approach is of course better than no approach, but Dr Armour said sunscreen works best when it has time to do its job. ‘Apply it at home or at least 20 minutes before you head outdoors to give your skin time to absorb it,’ Dr Armour said. 

Not reapplying frequently enough: ‘Sunscreen needs to be reapplied at least every two hours,’ she said. ‘If your kids are swimming or doing activities where they will sweat, make sure you choose a water-resistant sunscreen that is SPF50+ and reapply after swimming or other vigorous activities.’ 

Thinking darker skin makes you immune: The dermatologist said that while having darker skin does mean you have a slightly reduced chance of burning, darker skin types ‘will also suffer the effects of skin ageing caused by UV exposure’.

Holding on to a sunscreen for too long: She recommends you check the expiration date and don’t hang onto anything that’s past its best. It will not be effective.  

– Daily Mail