Ever find yourself using excuses to not wear sunscreen? You may hate how it feels or smells, but not applying SPF is an even bigger concern. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer in the U.S. than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Listen to this expert advice next time you start complaining about sunscreen.
1. My body won’t be able to process vitamin D
There’s a common belief that sunscreen use will lead to vitamin D deficiency because the lotion prevents your skin from absorbing the sun’s rays. Dermatologist Anatoli Freiman, MD, confirms this idea is a myth. “Wearing sunscreen doesn’t completely block the sun’s rays or prevent complete blockage of vitamin D synthesization and production,” he says.
If you’re still concerned that you’re not getting sufficient amounts of the “sunshine vitamin,” you can add foods rich in vitamin D to your diet, like fatty fish (salmon), egg yolks, and fortified milk. You can also ask your physician or pharmacist about taking vitamin D supplements.
2. My cosmetics already have SPF
Some makeup contains SPF, but most people don’t wear enough foundation, eyeshadow, or lipstick to offer complete skin protection. Plus, most cosmetics don’t contain sufficient SPF. “The majority of makeup products have SPF 15. That’s not enough for adequate protection,” Dr. Freiman says. “And when people put makeup on, they put it on the face, so it doesn’t address the rest of the body.”
Dermatologists recommend that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with at least an SPF of 30 in addition to your cosmetics. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, while UVB rays are responsible for sunburn. But too much exposure to both types can lead to the development of skin cancer. To ensure you’re applying enough sunscreen to cover your face and body, Dr. Freiman suggests using a golfball or shot glass-sized amount, and plan to reapply it every two hours.
3. Sunscreen formulas are sticky
A visit to the drugstore will uncover many products that aren’t gooey or sticky. “There are a lot of sprays, lotions, and emulsions that people can use. Some zinc products have micro-ionized particles so they can be less sticky,” Dr. Freiman says.
4. The chemicals in sunscreen are dangerous to my health
No scientific studies exist that prove a link between sunscreen ingredients and health concerns, Dr. Freiman says. “We do know that not wearing sunscreen and being in the sun causes cancer. That’s a proven fact.” Sunscreen is just one aspect of several safe sun strategies: “Stay out of the sun during peak hours (between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) and wear sun-protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses with proper coverage,” Dr. Freiman says.
It doesn’t hurt to look for sun protective clothing that features an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label either. “Sun protective clothing typically has UPF 30 or higher; UPF 30 means that only 1 in 30 (three percent) of UV rays will pass through [the clothing to the skin],” Dr. Freiman says.
5. I don’t like the way sunscreen smells
Say goodbye to coconut scents. “A lot of formulas smell nice and elegant while others don’t have a smell, so it shouldn’t be a big issue,” Dr. Freiman says.
6. It gets into my eyes while working out
You can exercise outdoors while being protected from the sun’s harmful rays, just make sure your sunscreen product is applied properly. “I do a fair amount of sports and haven’t had problems as long as the sunscreen is rubbed in away from the eyes,” Dr. Freiman says. You can also opt for sunblock sticks. These formulas stay put during active sports, so you won’t get SPF dripping into your eyes. For extra eye area protection, wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV rays.
7. Sunscreen leads to acne breakouts
If your skin is prone to pimples, opt for a product that won’t clog pores. Look for non-comedogenic on the packaging, Dr. Freiman says. With lotions, creams, sticks, and products containing zinc and titanium dioxide on the market, you have a wide range of sunscreens to choose from.