Since When Does Sunscreen No Longer Work? Our Favorite Beach Accessory Debunked


First things first, if it isn’t already, sunscreen should be your favorite beach accessory. We’ve been told time and time again to stay out of the sun, avoid harsh sunburns, and lather up with sunscreen at all times. I remember going to the beach as a kid and my grandmother adding layers of sunscreen until I became almost opaque. She thought it hilarious, I was mortified. But I knew that ultimately it was for my own good.

It hasn’t been until recently that reports are coming out debunking sunscreen as one of the safer ways to avoid melanoma. In fact, research from the University of Manchester suggests that sunscreens with high SPF DO NOT protect against the deadliest form of skin cancer — melanoma. Research showed that sunscreen with an SPF of 50 may have delayed the onset of melanoma, but did not prevent it at all.

So what does this mean? Basically, lathering up is still an efficient form of protection, but not necessarily long term protection. Not the type of protection you’d receive from say, swimsuit cover-ups. But it still helps exposed skin.

BUT sunscreen is still super important and for a plethora of reasons, you should still wear it often. Let’s go over some of that plethora now.

1. The ozone is vanishing slowly.

Now, I know that the sun provides you with an adequate amount of Vitamin D which is necessary for life, but there’s a better way to acquire that certain vitamin. Supplements, for example, don’t require you to be out in the sun for long periods of time. Acquiring vitamin D through sun rays may have worked way back when, but now that the ozone is going, going, gone, it makes the rays that much more potent to your very fragile skin.

2. It prevents skin discolorations.

Blotchiness and facial brown spots are often due to exposure to the sun. You can prevent both of these by simply lathering up with some sunscreen. To keep your skin the same shade and without burns and blotches, sunscreen coats your skin in an encompassing layer.

3. It slows down the development of wrinkled skin.

Many women make it their priority to combat wrinkles way before the age of acquisition. My mother has been using the same skin cream since she was a young girl, and she does indeed look ten years younger. Using sunscreen on a regular basis helps the skin to retain its moisture so that it doesn’t dry out causing premature wrinkles. If you aren’t fond of using sunscreen often, then perhaps you can try an alternative method of prevention using Coconut Oil.

Finding the best sunscreen can be complicated. It goes beyond just walking into your neighborhood Walgreens and grabbing a tube. A few years ago, choosing a good sunscreen meant you just looked for a high sun protection factor (SPF) — which rates how well the sunscreen protects against ONE type of cancer-causing UV ray, ultraviolet B (UVB.) But what about UVA rays? They too increase the risk of skin cancer.

Clearly, you’ll want a sunscreen with multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA. So make sure your sunscreen has an SPF of 15 or higher  PLUS UVA protection. It’s that simple.

Ana Lopez

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