Sun protection myths: how to look after your skin this summer

Woman showing sunburned fleshAs the sun finally decides to peek out from behind the clouds, protecting yourself from it becomes more important. Most people love the sunshine, but a lot of those don’t treat it with the respect it deserves – there are many myths and the people who believe them are putting their health at risk.Myth – SPF 30 is just as good as SPF 50The SPF number of sun cream indicates how much longer skin will take to redden compared to if it were bare. As well as blocking out a lot more UV rays, SPF 50 lasts longer. A lot of experts recommend you should always be wearing something of SFP 45 or higherMyth – You can’t get burnt when it’s cloudyJust because you can’t feel the heat, does not mean you aren’t getting burnt. Debra Reilly, an associate professor of plastic surgery and medical director of the Nebraska Medical Centre, says clouds block most of the UV rays which cause redness, but not the UVA rays which cause just as much skin damage. She added: “You don't realise so quickly that you're having damage to your skin.”Myth – Some sunscreens are waterproofStarting this year, sun protection like sunscreens can no longer be described as waterproof – instead they will be advertised as ‘water-resistant’. They will now also carry numbers, showing how long each application is expected to last. Make sure you don’t apply and then immediately dive in the pool, allow 15 – 20 minutes for the cream to soak in.Myth – Tanning before a holiday gives you a ‘base’This can be as harmful as it is unhelpful. A tan is essentially damaged skin the body is trying to repair. A spray tan is just as effective at blocking the sun’s rays, providing an SPF of between two and four.