7 Facts About Sun Damage & Sun Exposure You May Not Know

Everyone knows the basics about the sun; it can cause skin cancer and sunburn, but there’s much more you may be surprised to learn. We’ve broken down seven sun facts to help you stay informed and protected this season.

1 - 90% of visible signs of aging are due to sun damage

The most important anti-aging step you can take is to wear sun protection! Everything from fine lines and wrinkles to melasma and brown spots on the skin are caused in large part by the sun. At Colorescience, we formulate our products with sun protection at a minimum of SPF 20—including our primers, foundations, and our bestselling Sunforgettable® Brush-on Sunscreen SPF 50—to guard your skin against sun damage with every layer. This ensures that you’ll be shielded from damage from morning until night. New research suggests that daily application of sunscreen may even reverse sun damage.

Reverse sun damange with brush-on sunscreen

Colorescience makeup for sun exposure

(photo by @makingmrsm)

2 - Up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin, even on cloudy days!

The idea that you only need to wear sun protection on sunny days may be the most harmful myth about the sun! You may notice that you’ve gotten more sunburns on cloudy days because you haven’t felt the sun’s heat as a warning sign.

“It’s a necessity to apply sunscreen to exposed skin daily with an SPF 30 or higher and broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, even in overcast, wet or cooler climates,” says Dr. Jordana Herschthal, MD.

Applying sunscreen on cloudy days

Girl applying makeup for sun exposure

(photo by @shesaid_hesaid)

3 - You need to reapply sun protection every two hours

One application in the morning is simply not enough! Just because your moisturizer or foundation has SPF does not mean you’re adequately protected for the day. SkinCancer.org recommends reapplication of sunscreen every two hours and immediately after heavy sweating. Additionally, the FDA mandates that every sunscreen package includes messaging to reply every two hours. InStyle Magazine recently awarded our Brush-on Sunscreen a Best Beauty Buys Award for “Best Touch-Up Sunscreen,” meaning it is ideal for reapplication throughout the day.

“Reapplication of sunscreen every two hours is a must to guarantee adequate protection,” says Dr. Jordana Herschthal, MD.

“I love the Colorescience Sunforgettable® Brush-on Sunscreen because it is perfect for reapplying sunscreen over makeup, then touching-up other exposed areas, like my neck and hands. My kids also love this brush. The non-greasy mineral formula makes it easy for us to apply and reapply sunscreen throughout the day,” says Dr. Allison Arthur, MD.

4 - Skin cancer can affect anyone - all ethnicities and skin tones

“Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of race,” says dermatologist Maritza I. Perez, MD, a Senior Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation.

This is a very common misconception that darker skin tones are immune from sun damage. We carry a range of four shades (fair, medium, tan and deep) in our Sunforgettable® Brush-on Sunscreen SPF 50 to ensure all tones are properly protected. According to Dr. Perez, it’s true that darker skin tones produce more melanin pigment that helps protect the skin, but it’s not enough. People of color can still get sunburned, and they can also develop skin cancer from the sun’s rays.

Use sunscreen in all environments

Colorescience makeup for sun exposure in snow

(photo by @apressoleiltans)

5 - Snow can multiply your UV exposure because it reflects the sun’s rays

Wintertime doesn’t give you a free pass to skip sun protection! The snow actually increases your risk of sun damage because of its reflective properties. We’ve made it easy to carry your sunscreen with you on the slopes with our portable Brush-on Sunscreen.

"Hitting the slopes this weekend? Sunforgettable® Brush-on Sunscreen SPF 50 fits in your pocket and is easy to apply throughout your day," says our partner, Apres Soleil Tans.

6 – Tanning beds increase melanoma risk by 75%

Another very dangerous myth is that tanning beds offer a “safe tan.” Unfortunately, there is no safe tan from UV rays. Tanning beds not only accelerate the signs of aging, causing fine lines and wrinkles and dark spots, but greatly increase your risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Luckily, current fashion trends are about celebrating your natural skin tone, and celebrating the beauty of pale skin.

“Stop tanning outdoors and indoors. Indoor tanning increases melanoma risk by 75%,” says Dr. Jordana Herschthal, MD.

7 - Your skin isn’t protected from damage just because you’re not in a swimsuit

You’d think by wearing everyday clothing you’d be adequately protected from sun damage. Think again! Most light clothing doesn’t provide adequate protection. A regular cotton T-shirt offers an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of about 4-6. That means you can get both a sunburn AND increase your risk for skin cancer through your clothing.

“Most sun protective clothing has a UPF 30-50. When I kayak or swim, I wear a long-sleeved, mock-turtleneck UPF surf shirt and swim leggings. On my days off work, I wear UPF dresses or cardigans to run errands. I also wear broad-brimmed hats and UV-protective sunglasses as much as possible to cover the scalp, ears and delicate eye areas. My children wear sun protective clothing daily—they wear it to swim, play at the park or for a long car ride,” says Dr. Allison Arthur, MD.