Please Don’t Take Gwyneth Paltrow’s Advice for Applying Sunscreen

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If there is one single skincare product we’ll never turn our backs on, it’s sunscreen. We have a deep and undying love for SPF products for a couple of reasons. The most important one is the ability sunscreen has to protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause (largely preventable) skin cancers like melanoma.

The second is the anti-ageing qualities of sunscreen. According to research, clinical signs of ageing are largely influenced by external factors, with UV exposure responsible for 80 percent of visible facial ageing. With the help of sunscreen, you can help slow down the ageing process, should that be something that is a priority for you.

Recently, Vogue released a video in which Gwyneth Paltrow talked viewers through her everyday skincare and wellness routine. Paltrow gave a rundown on her wellness practices, which includes daily dry-brushing, as well as the Goop products she can’t live without.

During the tutorial, Paltrow also applied SPF — a “clean, mineral sunscreen” to be exact. “I’m not a head-to-toe slatherer of sunscreen but I like to put some on my nose and the area where the sun really hits,” Paltrow said, as she dabbed sunscreen across her nose and the top of her cheeks.

All we can say to this is: No. While we can appreciate Paltrow’s take on certain topics (and her vagina-smelling candles), we don’t support the health advice she often offers as it can be incredibly misleading. Paltrow’s SPF application is the same as one usually applies highlighter to their face — which, as much as we love highlighter, is never that much.

In the same video, Paltrow also said that she opts for a “clean” sunscreen as “there are a lot of really harsh chemicals in conventional sunscreen, so that’s a product that I really want to avoid”. As far as “natural” sunscreens go, this really isn’t a thing.

Mineral sunscreens are often referred to as “natural” as they usually only contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (or both as active ingredients). According to nonprofit organisation, Consumer Reports, these work by deflecting the sun’s UV rays, while chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, contains a higher number of active ingredients and works by absorbing the rays.

“Just because its active ingredients are minerals doesn’t mean a ‘natural’ sunscreen is, in fact, natural,” said Consumer Reports. “Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide may have originally come out of the earth, but by the time they’re formulated into sunscreens, they’ve been processed and refined.”

By purporting that “conventional” sunscreen contain  “harsh chemicals”, Paltrow could be scaring people out of using these much-needed products. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with this form of cancer accounting for around 80 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers. You need to be using sunscreen every day no matter where you live but for Aussies, it’s imperative.

And what product helps to protect us against the harmful skin cancer-causing rays from the sun? Sunscreen. “The key environmental risk factor for melanoma, estimated to be responsible for more than 90% of melanomas, is UV radiation from the sun,” dermatologist Dr Annika Smith told The Latch.

In fact, according to Dr Smith, 90 percent of cases can be prevented through sun protection, which includes the use of SPF products. “The best form of sun protection is achieved by employing the full complement of sun-protective strategies, particularly when the UV index is greater than three,” Dr Smith said. “That includes appropriate use of sunscreen, which is broad-spectrum — ideally 50+ — sunscreen that’s appropriately applied in terms of quantity and reapplied.”

So, please don’t take Paltrow’s advice — no matter how much you might like or admire her approach to health and beauty. Sunscreen is a necessary product in the prevention of potentially life-threatening skin cancers and should be worn every single day. Please treat sunscreen as a skincare product that is apart of your morning routine. If you’re not across the new generation of SPF products (that feel like skincare products), here are some of our non-greasy sunscreens.

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