7 Untrue Things About SPF And Your Sunscreen That Are Damaging Your Skin

22 August 2016

Always use protection

Don’t get lazy about sun protection — here’s why you should avoid making these common cop-outs.

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Myth #1: I apply sunscreen only once a day.

A single application isn’t enough, particularly if you’re going to be outdoors for more than two hours. The active ingredients in sunscreen break down over time, so reapplying it, especially if you’re sweating or going swimming, is a must. 


Myth #2: I haven’t finished the tube from three years ago.

The active ingredients in sunscreen deteriorate over time. This means the longer you keep that tube of sunscreen, the less effective it’ll be.

Plus, an open product is more likely to become contaminated with germs, as preservatives lose their efficacy over time.

And as with most cosmetic products, heat can also hamper the effectiveness of sunscreen.

See also: Are You Using Your Make-Up Longer Than You Should?


Myth #3: Sunscreen makes me break out.

If you’re breaking out in itchy, painful rashes after applying your regular sunscreen, ditch it and get a physical sunscreen, which is less likely to cause irritation compared to a chemical one.

Look for “mineral-based sunscreen” on the label, or check for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide on the ingredients list. 


Myth #4: But it’s not sunny…

Cloudy days don’t earn you a free pass. Even if you can’t see or feel the heat, it doesn’t mean the sun’s not doing any damage. UV radiation is invisible and can penetrate through haze, clouds and windows, so don’t be surprised if you get sunburned anyway.

See also: 10 Fun Indoor Date Ideas In Singapore For Rainy Days


Myth #5: I have dark skin.

It’s a common misconception that individuals with naturally dark skin don’t have to wear sunscreen. While being naturally darker-skinned reduces your risk of skin cancer, it doesn’t make you immune to sun damage or protect you from hyperpigmentation caused by excessive UV exposure. 


Myth #6: I’m fully clothed.

Even areas fully covered by clothing need to be protected.

Traditional materials, such as cotton, only provide a sun protection factor (SPF) of between 4 and 12, which is barely enough for our super-hot climate. The weave pattern, thickness, colour and age of the fabric can also affect the degree of sun protection your clothes can offer. 


Myth #7: My make-up has SPF.

You can’t rely solely on makeup for sun protection, unless you plan on covering your face and neck with an even, thick layer of waterproof foundation.

Also, makeup tends to come off easily when you perspire.


By Charmaine Ong, HerWorldPlus, June 2016

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