Myth or reality?
1 ”SUN PROTECTION WILL INHIBIT ADEQUATE VITAMIN D ABSORPTION” False! While we need vitamin D, it only takes a small amount of sun exposure to get a sufficient level, which is achievable with sun protection. You can also get your recommended dose through diet and supplements.
2 ”ANYTHING ABOVE SPF15 IS A WASTE” False! Although the merits of a sun protection factor (SPF) above 50 are widely debated, experts agree a minimum of SPF30 should always be applied. Fiona Mawley, manager of the Cancer Society’s commercial branch, says the key is in application. “Apply at least 20 minutes before heading outside, reapply every two hours and always adhere to the seven teaspoon rule,” she says. This means a teaspoon of lotion per limb, front and back of body, and one for the face/neck/ears.
3 ”MY BB CREAM CONTAINS SPF SO I DON’T NEED TO USE ADDITIONAL SUN PROTECTION” False! Most BB creams only contain up to SPF15, which is not enough protection. “While some SPF is better than none, makeup with SPF is only acceptable for very short periods of exposure,” advises Dr Maria Reeves, founder and director of skin specialists Claris Group. “Apply your moisturiser first, then sunscreen, then your makeup to ensure full protection.”
4 ”YOU CAN’T BURN OUTSIDE OF PEAK SUN HOURS” False! Dermatologists are unanimous that this is a very common and dangerous misconception. The probability of burning is worse when the sun is directly overhead, from about 10am to 4pm, but tanning at any time of day is unsafe.
5 ”IF I USE WATERPROOF FORMULAS I DON’T NEED TO REAPPLY” False! ‘Waterproof’ can no longer be used as a claim under New Zealand’s sunscreen standards, as no product can be completely waterproof. “However, a water resistance claim means sunscreen should retain its full SPF protection after two hours in the water,” explains Fiona. She adds you should still aim to reapply after swimming, towelling and excessive sweating.
Try: Cancer Society Everyday SPF50+, 400ml, $18; or NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+, 400ml, $18.99.