Are you really protecting your skin from the sun? How much do you need to worry about skin cancer? How bad is tanning? Even if you are educated on skincare, chances are that you still have some lingering questions about sun protection. Some myths about sun damage continue to spread, and it can be tough to separate fact from fiction. Here is the truth about some common sun exposure myths.
Myth: You don’t need to worry about sunscreen on cloudy days.
Fact: UV radiation is unrelated to weather and is capable of getting through clouds.
Yes, your skin is getting damaged even if it’s cloudy outside. The sun produces UVB rays, which are the rays that cause your skin to tan or burn. It also produces UVA rays that can reach your skin through the clouds. You can search online to find the daily UVA and UVB indexes, but you should always apply sunscreen on all exposed areas of your skin. In addition, you should cover or shade as much of your skin as possible with clothing and hats and you should look into other methods of protection, such as a UV-resistant canopy or umbrella.
Myth: You need the sun to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
Fact: Most people reach their needed vitamin D intake with incidental exposure.
While vitamin D deficiency is a common problem, tanning is not the solution. In fact, most people can get their daily dose from being outside for just a few minutes. If you need more vitamin D, the safer alternative is to take a supplement. Check with a doctor before starting any new dietary regimen.
Myth: A base tan protects you.
Fact: There is no such thing as a safe tan.
This is a tricky one. Technically, having a tan provides you with the equivalent of SPF 4 sunscreen, so it takes you longer to burn. But, to get this base tan, you have already damaged your skin. Tanning and burning is your body’s response to DNA in your skin cells being damaged, so that tan is proof that the damage is already done. Whether your base tan is from a tanning salon or the sun, there is no such thing as a safe tan.
Myth: Skin cancer is not that dangerous.
Fact: Skin cancer is still cancer and harmful to your health.
Thankfully, many forms of skin cancer are easy to see and are easily cured. In many cases they do not spread beyond the affected skin, so a simple biopsy can take care of it. However, it can still impact your life. For example, cancer on your eyelid or cheek can result in a scar on your face and the possibility of vision damage. There are also other skin cancers, such as melanoma, that are dangerous and life-threatening. In fact, melanoma can spread through your body and takes over 10,000 lives in the United States each year.
About the Author: Staci Matt is a Scottsdale-based writer with interest and expertise in entertainment, beauty, technology, and marketing. She’s also a lover of movies, travel, theme parks, and hearing about your pets. Follow her on Instagram @staci881.