By now, we’ve all been told about the benefits of men’s sunscreen. Doctors and scientists certainly seem to be in agreement that sunscreen not only helps prevent sunburn, but can also fend off premature aging of the skin caused by the sun, as well as skin cancer.
If you’ve ever spent a lot of time in the sun without applying men’s sunscreen, then spent the same amount of time with sunscreen, you can most likely confirm their findings. At least the part about avoiding men’s sunscreen.
But is everything we’ve heard about sunscreen accurate?
Let’s take a look at three beliefs and opinions about men’s sunscreen and find out if they are fact or fiction.
We’ve all heard it. Heck, we’ve all said it. I’m only going for a walk around the block…or for a quick run. I’m only pulling weeds; I’ll be done in a half hour.
The idea here is that sunscreen is unnecessary if exposure time is shorter than a certain period of time. I’m not sure anybody has ever actual defined the actual “safe” time period, but the suggestion that men’s sunscreen need only be applied if planning to be outdoors for more than, let’s say 30 minutes, is absolutely fiction.
First of all, it’s a safe bet that your 20-minute stroll, run, yard work, etc. will end up being an hour or more. Concept of time isn’t a strength for most people, and we almost always encounter distractions that prolong how long our activity actually takes.
But, more importantly, the truth is that the sun is reaching your skin every second you’re within range of its rays. And don’t make the mistake of thinking if you can’t see the sun, it can’t see you.
“Oh, it’s cloudy out. I don’t need sunscreen.” FALSE!
“It’s late in the day; the sun isn’t that strong now. I don’t need men’s sunscreen.” THINK AGAIN!
Not only will the sun find you under these conditions, but any time the sun is reaching you, it is affecting you. That includes altering your color (burning) and ramping up the aging process (building sun spots, wrinkles, etc.).
The real truth is that sunscreen should be part of your daily routine and not reserved only for those times when you expect to be outdoors for several hours, or participating in certain activities. UYou are being exposed to ultraviolet rays anytime you’re outdoors, but also when you’re not indoors.
If you’re by a window — even the windows in your car — those UV rays penetrate the glass and hammer your skin. This is not a myth; it is reality. In fact, dermatological findings indicate that skin cancer occurs more frequently on the left side of the body, which is the side closest to the driver’s side window. In countries where drivers sit on the right side of the vehicle, skin cancer cases are more common on the right side of the body.
You can chalk it up to coincidence, but you’re being foolish. The sun is everywhere, and it is powerful. To protect yourself as best as possible from its harmful rays, dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen during all daylight hours. This can either be applied on its own or you can find cosmetics and lotions that also have sun protection properties. Look for products with SPF on the labels and, preferably, a minimum of 15.
If you take a peek in most people’s bathroom drawers or medicine cabinets — for the record, we don’t recommend doing this — you’ll likely find several half-used bottles of sunscreen. They are accrued over time and we tend to think the shelf life on these lotions and creams is infinite.
This, too, is fiction.
As a matter of fact, sunscreen bottles and tubes have actual expiration dates on them. But, just in case you’re one of the many who are skeptical about expiration dates — They only put dates on there to make you buy more…That’s just a suggestion, it doesn’t really mean anything…etc. — rest assured that on men’s sunscreen, these dates are very real and serve a very important purpose.
Ingredients used in most sunscreens break down over time and lose their protective properties. Once the sunscreen passes its expiration date, there’s a good chance that it can no longer screen you from the sun and its harmful rays. It is most often chemicals that break down over periods of time, so using more natural sunscreens with ingredients you can actually pronounce will likely hold up longer, but you should still pay close attention to the expiration date on the bottle and discard it once the time passes.
Extreme heat can also cause the ingredients in men’s sunscreen to break down and lose their ability to protect you from the sun’s rays. Therefore, if you keep your sunscreen in your vehicle, or in a garage, or outdoors somewhere, it would be a good idea to toss it, buy a new bottle, and store it somewhere at room temperature.
It seems perfectly logical to assume that a sunscreen with an SPF of, say, 75 or 100 would offer far more protection than one with 15 or 25; meaning you could stay in the fun for a longer period of time.
This isn’t quite as cut and dry as the other two, but for the sake of this blog, we’ll call this fiction as well.
While the higher numbers do indicate greater sun protection ability, they are not necessarily scalable are actually pretty negligible beyond a certain point. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests using men’s sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and a maximum SPF of 50 (like Jacket, which was created by a dermatologist).
No men’s sunscreen can block all UV rays, but those rated at 30 SPF guard against 97% of them, while those rated at 50% protect you from 98%. There are men’s sunscreen with SPFs climbing all the way up into the triple digits, but don’t be fooled. That does not mean they actually shield you from 75%, 80% or 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. They don’t!
Any added protection beyond 50 SPF is practically immeasurable.
So stick with broad spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB rays)…doctor’s orders!