Let’s Talk About the Paradox of Sunscreen…

When it comes to sun protection, in many ways we are much smarter than we were even 30 years ago … most of us understand the importance of sun protection. But in spite of this, skin continues to age and skin cancer rates have continued to rise. If sunscreen were effectively protecting us, this would not be the case.

And that’s where the "paradox of sunscreen" comes into play. Sunscreen provides most people with a false sense of security. A high-SPF sunscreen will prevent you from a UVB-induced sunburn, but a sunburn is nature’s way of letting you know that you have had too much sun for your skin type … a signal that it is time to seek the shade. So, thanks to your SPF 30, you are most likely spending three to four times longer in the sun. Since your sunscreen blocks mainly UVB light and to a much lesser extent UVA, you have just gotten three to four times more UVA light. The skinpact? Accelerated aging and an increased likelihood for melanoma.

On top of the false sense of security associated with high SPF products, there is a compliance issue too. Sunscreen ingredients are inherently oily by nature, and more sunscreen ingredients are necessary to achieve a higher SPF. So the greater the SPF, the more likely a sunscreen will be heavy, greasy and whitening on the skin. When sunscreen is applied correctly, SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 99% of UVB rays. So we say worry less about the SPF value and more on whether you’ll use it properly. A cosmetically elegant SPF 15 or 30 used every day and reapplied every few hours is significantly more effective than an SPF 100 that you do not want to use.