by Jonathan L. Keeling, DO, Lexington Clinic Dermatologist

When it comes to sunscreen use, there are many rumors and common beliefs about this product. For proper use and application it is important to recognize which of these are true and which are myths.

Higher SPF Sunscreens Provide Better Protection
Research is still being conducted about high SPF sunscreens and the effectiveness they have. However a patient should not rely solely on a higher level sunscreen to provide better protection. Instead, rely on the amount and frequency of sunscreen applied.  When using, make sure all exposed skin is covered and reapply often throughout the day.

You Can’t Get Burned on a Cloudy Day
Even though clouds are hiding the sun, the rays are still getting through – 40% of them, according to Medical Daily. Many people believe they don’t need to wear sunscreen because the clouds will protect them, when in reality, they could get burned just as easily as they could on a sunny day. It is important to always apply sunscreen when going outdoors, no matter what the weather forecast may be.

Sunscreen Does Not Expire
Like all beauty and skincare products, sunscreen does have an expiration date, which should be followed strictly. After only two weeks, many sunscreens will lose SPF strength, which means a reduction in coverage. If an expiration date is printed on the bottle, do not use the sunscreen past that expiration date. If no expiration date can be found, mark the bottle with the date purchased and use for up to three years and store the bottle at room temperature.

Getting a Tan Base Will Help Limit Burning
Many people will try to get a dark tan, either through a tanning bed or sunbathing, before going on vacation to the beach or somewhere sunny. The reality is, a base tan like this is only the equivalent of SPF 4 or less and burning is still possible. Additionally, the skin has already been damaged by the excessive tanning to get to this stage.

I Burned So Much as a Child, More Damage Isn’t Going to Hurt Me
While most sun exposure occurs before age 20, it is still important to protect skin throughout all stages of life. UV damage is cumulative, meaning it keeps adding up throughout the years. The accumulated damage can lead to pre-cancers, cancers and photoaging, so maximum skin protection is encouraged – no matter the age.

If you think you have experienced sun damage to your skin, would like to have a spot checked or removed or would like more information on sunscreen use and effectiveness please call Lexington Clinic Dermatology today at (859) 258-5270.
Jonathan L. Keeling, DO, is a board-certified dermatologist at Lexington Clinic. He provides services in adult, adolescent, and pediatric dermatology. Dr. Keeling treats a wide spectrum of dermatologic conditions including acne, rosacea, psoriasis, various types of dermatitis, skin infections, and disorders of the hair and nails. His professional interests include skin cancer detection and surgery, cosmetic procedures, and general dermatology.