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Myths and truths about sunscreen

A great ally of health and beauty, sunscreen protects the skin from direct exposure to the ultraviolet rays generated by the sun. This helps prevent premature ageing and reduces the chances of developing skin cancer. The supply of products for this purpose, however, is growing along with doubts about the properties and distinctions of each sunscreen. The Prodiet Blog interviewed dermatologist Marcus Maia, coordinator of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology's National Program for Skin Cancer Control, to clarify the main myths surrounding this issue. Check it out:

You should use sunscreen every day.
TRUTH - Ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) are largely responsible for premature skin ageing and also for cases of skin cancer. That's why using sunscreen every day is also a matter of health and hygiene, just like brushing your teeth. Sunscreen should not only be used when there is direct exposure to the sun, but daily, even on cloudy days.

Never sunbathing is ideal for your health.
MYTH The incidence of sunlight on the skin is responsible for the production of vitamin D in the body. Therefore, it is essential that people have contact with the sun. This can happen on a day-to-day basis; it's not necessary to be totally exposed, as is often the case on the beach. The problem, in this case, is that vitamin D is stimulated when the skin comes into direct contact with the strongest sun, between 11am and 4pm. However, this is also the most damaging time for the skin. Therefore, those with skin that is more sensitive to burns or who have a family history of skin cancer should avoid the sun. To obtain the vitamin, it is best to see a dermatologist, who will recommend supplementation.

Sunscreen should only be applied once a day.
MYTH Sunscreen is expelled from the skin naturally, regardless of sweat or contact with water. You should apply it about 30 minutes before leaving the house and reapply it every two hours.

Moisturizers with SPF can replace sunscreen
TRUTH The protective capacity of a moisturizer with SPF 30, for example, is the same as that of a sunscreen with the same factor; the difference is that it has other functions.

Self-tanning lotion acts as a sunscreen.
MYTH Self-tanning creams only pigment the skin and do not provide any kind of protection from the sun's rays.

There is no difference in sun protection factors above 30.
MYTH Protectors with an SPF above 30 protect more, but the difference is very small. A sunscreen with SPF 15 protects the skin against around 92% of UVB radiation, SPF 30 protects 96% and SPF 60 protects 98%. The protection factor should be chosen according to skin type and the length of time you've been exposed to the sun. To calculate, the filter factor must be multiplied by the average time the skin starts to turn red. For example, if the skin turns red after 20 minutes in the sun, using filter 15 will protect it for 300 minutes.

Hair and lips need protection from the sun.
TRUTH Lips should be protected from the sun, just like the rest of the body; many lipsticks already have SPF. Hair, on the other hand, should be protected by shampoos, conditioners and creams. In this case, it's an aesthetic issue, to avoid burning the hair.

The amount of sunscreen on the body does not affect protection.
MYTH Most people use sunscreen the wrong way. Either to save money or out of carelessness, they apply around four to five times less sunscreen than necessary. The ideal amount is two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter.

See below how much sunscreen you need to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays:


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