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4 Things That are NOT a Substitute for SPF Clothing and Sunscreen

Posted on 20 September 2022

Sunscreen is a popular method for preventing sun damage. Are there other ways to protect skin? Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions regarding UV protection and burn prevention. Here are some commonly touted alternatives to SPF clothing and sunscreen, and why they should not be used as a replacement. 

1. Cosmetics as a Substitute for SPF Clothing and Sunscreen

Many cosmetics such as foundations, BB creams, and lip balms claim to have SPF properties. However, these typically do not offer sufficient protection from both UVA and UVB rays- which can cause wrinkles and hyperpigmentation in the skin. A broad-spectrum sunscreen specially formulated for the face remains a much safer option, and you can layer it under makeup. 

2. Coconut Oil

Some sources cite coconut oil as a natural alternative to SPF clothing and sunscreen and suggest applying the oil to the skin instead. Yet, coconut oil only blocks 20% of the sun's rays. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that everyone use products with SPF 30 (or higher), which blocks 97% of the sun's rays. That's a big difference - and why coconut oil really isn't a replacement for sunblock. 

3. Eating Saturated Fats

If it doesn't work externally, then other sources claim that ingesting large amounts of coconut oil and other saturated fats can prevent sun damage. Again, this claim is false. Healthy saturated fats are an important part of a healthy diet, but they aren't going to prevent long-term skin damage from UV light. Sunscreen and SPF clothing act as external barriers to block UV rays from reaching the skin, which food just cannot do from inside the body.

4. Clouds & Shade

It's a common misconception that sun damage can't happen when it's cloudy or shady. However, the AAD states that "Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate your skin." To stay safe and prevent sunburn, everyone should make sure to keep sunscreen on hand, regardless of the weather.

The Importance of SPF Clothing and Sunscreen

So what are some better options for protecting skin from UV rays? Sunscreen is truly the best method and should be used at SPF 30 or higher. If chemical ingredients are a concern, then consider natural mineral sunscreens that rely on zinc and titanium. In addition to sun block lotion, some clothing is specially made with SPF properties to block harmful UV light. Wearing SPF clothing provides an extra layer of protection that won't wear off over time as sunscreen does. It is also an effective way to keep young babies safe in the sun until they are old enough to use sunscreen. 

To learn more about proper sun safety and how SPF clothing can protect you and your family, contact us today.

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