Myths and truths about skin care you may not know

MYTH: SPF numbers are an indicator of the number of minutes you can stay in the sun if you wear them.

While studies show that the sun helps your skin produce vitamin D, you still need to wear a good sunscreen that protects against sunlight if you stay outside for a long time (greater than 30 minutes) in a sunny day to avoid sunburn. And most people mistakenly think that SPF numbers are an indicator of the number of minutes you can stay in the sun if you wear them, and SPF protect you from both UVA and UVB. That’s not the case — and also, Consumer Reports said that SPF only tells you something about UVB protection, and has nothing to do with UVA. Instead, an SPF 30 sunscreen should keep your skin from getting a sunburn about 30 times longer than it would without that sunscreen.

SPF protection only edges up incrementally with higher numbers. SPF 15 blocks approximately 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks 97%, SPF 50 blocks 98%, and SPF 100 only blocks 99%, according to Consumer Reports. No matter which level of protection you choose, you’ll still need to reapply it every two hours to stay protected — or more frequently if you get wet or sweat a lot.

MYTH: If you have oily skin, you won’t show signs of aging as quickly.

Whether your skin is oily or dry doesn’t affect aging as much as sun exposure, pollution, and your smoking habits, according to Good Housekeeping. Dry skin doesn’t cause signs of aging — but can enhance them once they’re already there because that plump, moisturized look is so often associated with looking youthful.

MYTH: “Squeaky clean” skin is the goal.

Maintaining your skin’s moisture barrier is the key to healthy skin that feels and looks good — and using harsh products that strip away your moisture barrier does exactly the opposite of that, according to Real Simple. Instead, opt for gentle cleansers that lift away dirt, oil, and makeup — but don’t leave your skin feeling dry and tight.

MYTH: Drugstore products aren’t worth your time and money.

If you love a certain brand because of its scent or packaging, that’s one thing — and you definitely should do you. That boutique price, however, doesn’t automatically make a product better quality. No matter where you buy it, according to StyleCaster, active ingredients are what matter — and depending on what works for your specific skin, you can find some amazing things in drugstores.