The biggest sunscreen myth you need to stop believing, ASAP

Biggest sunscreen myth revealed

Skimping on your daily application? You need to read this

Sunscreen. We all know we should wear it (yes, even in winter), but a not-so-well-known fact is that it’s actually never too late to prevent sun damage.

Even if you think you’ve already racked up too many skin sins from your youth to now, that doesn’t mean you’re a lost cause. Regardless of what you have or haven’t done in the past, a new study is proving that re-thinking your sun protection habits can seriously save your skin.

The research, led by the University of Sydney and published in JAMA Dermatology, analysed data collected from nearly 1700 people who participated in the Australian Melanoma Family Study and found that risk of melanoma was less in those who used sunscreen more widely in both childhood and across their lifetime.

“Our study shows that sunscreen use in childhood and adulthood was protective against melanoma in young people 18-40 years old, with their risk reduced by 35 to 40 percent for regular sunscreen users compared to people who rarely used it,” said Anne Cust, lead researcher in the study..

While these findings stress the importance of early sun protection when you’re young, it also suggests that wearing SPF during adulthood is crucial and even if you only started wearing sunscreen today, you can still seriously decrease your risk of skin cancer and skin ageing. So if you’ve been slacking off with your sunscreen application, the truth is that it’s NEVER too late to prevent sun damage so get back onto it, STAT. 

In light of the study, Allure spoke to New York dermatologist Shari Marchbein for more insights, and she explained this is a common misconception essentially stopping people from protecting their skin. “I think many people think that once the damage is done, there is no longer a need to sun protect well in adulthood,” said Marchbein.

"However, we know that sun damage is cumulative and that appropriately applying (and reapplying) sunscreen can help prevent precancerous lesions, skin cancers, and sun damage including wrinkles and sun spots,” adds Marchbein.

Basically, UV damage adds up over your lifetime, so applying sun protection will cut the risk of skin cancer and skin ageing at any age - no matter if you are six months young or 60 years old. 

If you need to up your sun protection game, check out some of the next-generation sunscreens that offer a multi-pronged approach to skin protection.

What is your daily sunscreen? Let us know in the comments below.

Main image credit: @kaiagerber

Erin Docherty is a Contributing Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.