How to Solve Summer Skincare Myths

Monday, June 14th, 2021
Dr. Sonia Batra debunks Summer skin care myths and shares how to save our skin from irreversible damage.

If we have oily skin, do we need to use a moisturizer or is that a step we can skip?

Don’t skip it. Even if you have oily skin, you still need moisturizer and here’s why. There is a difference between oiliness and hydration. Sebum is the oil produced by the skin to maintain its barrier function. Hydration with water plumps the skin and preserves its elasticity. Products that strip the skin or dehydrate it will cause it to overcompensate, produce more sebum, and worsen acne.

A lot of makeup and primers claim to have sunscreen in them, so it’s easy to assume we don’t need to use a separate sunscreen but that’s not quite true is it?

It’s great that there is sunscreen in the makeup but the amount of makeup you would have to put on to really get that level of protection is much more than you would want to use. In fact, you would need to apply about 2mg, or a dollop the size of a nickel, for your face to get the protection listed on the bottle. Most people apply about half of that when using regular sunscreen and even less when applying makeup. The SPF in a foundation or primer should be considered icing on the cake, but should be applied over a dedicated, broad-spectrum moisturizer/ sunscreen. The one product you should always have sunscreen in is your lip balm. A matte formula is best because shiny formulas can actually attract the sun and increase the risk of getting sunburn on your lips.

Many times, do you hear people with olive or dark skin don’t burn and therefore don’t need to wear as much sunscreen, myth or true?

A myth. Just because you have a darker pigment to your skin, you are still accruing ultraviolet damage. This can lead to brown spots, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity which cause an aged appearance. While you may see the burn on a fair skinned person more easily, the damage to the skin and the risk of skin cancer is present no matter what so always wear sunscreen that is at least an SPF 30 to be safe.

Does sunscreen expire or can we use the leftover sunscreen we have from last Summer?

Sunscreen is required by the FDA to remain stable for 3 years, and bottles should have an expiration date on them. That said, they can degrade in direct sunlight or heat, so they should be thrown away if there is any change in color or consistency. Mineral sunscreens with zinc or titanium tend to be more stable.

If we do have acne, does spending time in the sun heal it or will it make it worse?

Ultraviolet light has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects and also makes sebum less sticky. Tan skin can also camouflage redness from acne. However, the damage accrued using UV light leads to brown spots, wrinkles, and ultimately skin cancer.