May 20, 2016 by Jack

The smell of sunscreen epitomizes summertime for many of us. And while this is encouraging, the fact remains that an overwhelming number of people don’t know how to separate longstanding myths from reality. No worries: we’re gonna help with that.

Let’s get a few myths out of the way. First, there’s no such thing as a safe tan. Really. Yes, your skin can be damaged even if it’s cloudy. And no, darker skin doesn’t obviate the need to apply sunscreen. While the presence of melanin can serve as a natural barrier against some harmful rays, it doesn’t protect against the more dangerous UVA rays.

So what does SPF actually mean? SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor,” and the numerals that follow refer to the amount of time your skin will be protected from the sun’s harmful rays: an SPF 15 sunscreen will help prevent your skin from harmful sun rays 15 times longer than if you were to venture out without sunscreen. But all sunscreens are not created equal.

To properly protect your skin, you need broad-spectrum protection. Broad-spectrum sunscreens like you’ll find in all of our SPF products protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the more dangerous of the two and can cause long-term damage in the form of age spots and premature wrinkles. UVB rays are what cause red, itchy skin after prolonged exposure to sunlight. Both are bad news, and both require proper protection.

Even if you buy the right sunscreen, you’re probably not using enough. One study found that most consumers apply merely a quarter to half the suggested amount for effective protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Still have your bottle of sunblock from last year? If anything, that probably means you don’t use the right amount of sunscreen or apply it often enough. Get yourself an oil-free sunscreen like our own award-winning Sun Guard Sunscreen SPF 45 so you can apply it generously without worrying about greasy skin.

When it comes down to it, your best bet is to play it safe and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen generously and often. Apply Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 every morning. Use lip balm with SPF protection. And keep a bottle of Sun Guard in your bag or briefcase, if only for the simple reason that it’s better to be safe than sorry.