5 Lesser Known Myths About SPF You Need to Know


In this article, we are not going to talk about any products in particular here, but instead, I want to correct some commonly believed myths about SPF.

SPF is short for Sun Protection Factor. SPF 30 means you could stay in the sun for 30 times longer than without sun protection. If your skin starts to get red/burnt around 10 minutes without sun protection wearing an SPF 30 sun cream will allow you to have 300 minutes of sun exposure without burning (in theory). In reality, SPF is not so straightforward.

Myth #1

I have a dark skin tone and don’t mind a bit of tan. I will be ok without sun protection. I don’t get burnt easily anyway.


This is me in my teens and mid-twenties. Darker skin does take longer to get burnt than fair skin but not enough to warrant you not wearing SPF Sun protection. UV rays still damage the collagen and hence lead to quicker aging of the skin. Health experts advise people to use sunscreen regardless of race. Lots of damage can be done without the red flag of sunburn being raised.

Myth #2

It’s not very sunny today. I should be ok without my sunscreen.

My husband gets very annoyed with me when I ask him and the kids to wear sunscreen in winter. I am sure he is not the only one who thinks we should wear sunscreen only in summer. It is very important to wear sunscreen all year around. Here is why:

UVA and UVB are the main UV rays we are concerned with when it comes to skin damage. UVB rays are the things that cause you sunburnt. Yes, there are more UVB rays in the summertime.

What’s going to get you during the colder months of the year if you don’t wear sun protection is the other UV factor, UVA. Half your exposure to UVA radiation is in Summer and half is spread throughout the rest of the year (Based on the Melanoma Institute of Australia). UVA rays can penetrate normal glass windows including car windows. Most annoyingly it gets to the deepest layer your skin and causes lasting damage.

So sunscreen all year around people, even on a cloudy day. Make sure you choose a sunscreen with “broad spectrum” protection to block out both UVA and UVB.

Myth #3

I have got makeup which contains SPF. I will be fine for the whole day out.

You need 1/2 teaspoon of sunscreen for face and neck to get the full SPF protection that product claims. Not many of us use that much foundation/makeup on our face. It will be beneficial to use a sun product under your makeup.

Myth #4

I don’t need hats or sunglasses. I have got the right amount of Sun cream on.

Makeup, sweat and the length of time the sunscreen has been on will affect the ability of sun product. It depends on what you are doing that day. If you are inside most of the time, only in and out for very short periods of time – you should be ok. If you are out for the whole day for a picnic – then be sure to wear your hats and sunglasses and stay in the shade if possible.

sun protection

Myth #5

Physical sun product is so much better than chemical ones.

Physical sun products reflect the UV rays whereas chemical sunscreen absorbs the UV rays. There are many people who believe that a physical sunscreen is much better as it contains fewer chemicals. I once asked a health professional. He said it’s very much a personal preference. One is not better than the other unless you are allergic to any particular ingredients. I tried both kinds of sunblocks. I really can’t say one is better the other one.

The good thing about a physical sunscreen is it tends to perform right away whereas with chemical ones you need to wait around 20mins for it’s to be absorbed. Some physical ones do make your skin look white, but a chemical sunblock won’t do that to your face.

If you are not sure which one to get, go with a reputable brand. Not necessarily an expensive one.


Do yourself and your kids a favor; protect your skin from sun damage. You will look younger for longer and most importantly it helps to reduce the risk of brown spots and skin cancers.