5 Sun Exposure Myths
A sunburn you receive at the pool may put a damper on your fun for a day. However, you may not realize that every time you get sunburned, you’re adding a layer of damage to your skin that could last a lifetime. This sun damage greatly increases your susceptibility to skin cancer, such as the most aggressive form, melanoma.
Learn the truth behind the most well-known myths about sun exposure, tanning and sunscreen in order to protect your family from skin cancer in the future.
Myth #1: Naturally dark skin can’t get sunburned. Just because your skin doesn’t turn red like those with paler skin it doesn’t mean that the sun is not doing damage. The sun can still penetrate dark skin and cause premature aging, wrinkles and sun spots. Learn more.
Myth #2: If it’s cloudy, you can’t get sunburned. There is no such thing as a sunless day. Even though the sun doesn’t appear to be out on a cloudy day, its rays are still working. Oftentimes, more people receive a burn on cloudy days than on sunny days because they don’t see the need for protection.
Myth #3: Tanning indoors is safer than tanning outdoors. Both kinds of tanning are dangerous and expose your skin to the same harmful UV radiation. Even though a nice, brown summer tan may look pretty, brown skin, even if it’s not red, is an outward sign of inner skin damage. Your skin turns brown because skin cells respond to damage by producing more pigment.
Myth #4: All sunscreens are created equal. Not all sunscreens block both types of rays. Make sure you’re blocking both ultraviolet B rays (UVB), which cause damage to the skin’s surface and Ultraviolet A rays (UVA), which cause deeper damage and premature aging. Make sure you wear a sunscreen with at least a SPF of 30 and labeled “broad-spectrum.”
Myth #5: Using a higher SPF will ensure I will not get burned. You should know that you can still get burned with a high SPF. For example, a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 is not twice as protective as an SPF of 15. When used properly, an SPF of 15 protects the skin from 93% of UV radiation, while an SPF of 30 protects the skin from 97% of the rays. In order for sunscreen to be beneficial, it needs to be applied more than once a day.
What are the Sun Tanning Alternatives?
There is hope for those who want bronze skin this summer but want to avoid the sun and tanning beds. Several harmless options include:
- Sunless tanning lotion
- Spray tanning
- Tanning towlettes
- Cosmetics such as bronzer