5 Common Myths About Sun Exposure You Need To Know
Posted by Coco Hunter on
It’s that time of year again: Winter is out, and sunshine and warmth are returning (finally!).With summer ramping up, teenagers and adults alike are starting to think about vacations and achieving that “healthy” glow. But is there really anything healthy about glowing from sun exposure?
Check out these five common myths about tanning and sun exposure we’ve exposed to keep you skin safe and cancer free.
MYTH #1: YOU DON’T NEED TO WEAR SUNSCREEN ON CLOUDY DAYS
⚠️ MYTH ⚠️ The truth is -- YOU SHOULD WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY -- regardless of sun, snow, or overcast.
REALITY: Up to 80% of the sun's UV rays can pass through clouds. This is the reason why people often end up with serious sunburns on overcast or cloudy days if they've spent time outside with no sun protection.
SOLUTION: if you'll be outdoors for long periods of time, please wear a proper broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30.
MYTH #2: A SUNTAN IS FINE, AS LONG AS YOU DON’T BURN
⚠️ MYTH ⚠️ The truth is -- ANY TAN INDICATES SUN DAMAGE -- no matter what you skin tone is.
REALITY: While even one sunburn may double the chance of eventually developing melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer), your kids are still at risk even if they never burn. The more sun you get, the more likely you are to develop certain skin cancers.
SOLUTION: Avoid laying out and limiting your direct sun exposure. There are plenty of faux tan alternatives that will give you that summer glow without increasing your risk of cancer or premature aging.
MYTH #3: A BEACH UMBRELLA BLOCKS THE SUN
👍 TRUE, BUT IT'S NOT FOOLPROOF.
REALITY: Beach umbrellas, as convenient shade structures that are widely used in summer, are designed to block direct UV rays but do not block scattered or diffused UV rays, which could be significant at places such as a beach. Also, sand reflects up to 17% of UV radiation, so you're still exposed. Basically, shade alone can't protect you from the sun's scattered rays, which are coming at you from all directions.
SOLUTION: Nevertheless, it's smart to stay in the shade when the sun's rays are high; just make sure you're also slathered with sunscreen. And be sure to reapply every 60 -90 minutes or after entering the pool or ocean.
MYTH #4: THE SUN CAN’T PENETRATE THROUGH CAR WINDOWS
⚠️MYTH⚠️ The truth is -- GLASS FILTERS OUT ONLY ONE TYPE OF RADIATION -- UVB rays. But UVA rays, which penetrate deeper, can still get through.
REALITY: That's why many adults have more freckles on their left side than their right -- it's from UV exposure on that side through the car window when driving.
SOLUTION: To protect yourself, apply sunscreen to any exposed areas (like your hands, forearms, and face) before getting into your car, especially in the spring and summer months.
If you're buying a new car, consider one with tinted windows, which keep out almost four times more UVA light than regular ones. You don't need to worry about putting on sunscreen when indoors unless you or your child spends most of your time near a window (for example, if your desk is right next to one).
MYTH #5: 80% OF OUR SUN DAMAGE OCCURS BEFORE THE AGE OF 18
⚠️MYTH⚠️ The truth is -- according to recent studies we get LESS THAN 25% BEFORE AGE 18. That means you get the majority of it later on.
REALITY: So while you absolutely should be vigilant about protecting your kids, make sure you take care of YOURSELF, too.
While 83% of parents arm their kids with sunscreen and protective clothing whenever they're outdoors, only two-thirds practice what they preach.
SOLUTION: Remember, kids don't always pay attention to what you say -- it's more about what you do,. If you're making them wear sunscreen but baking yourself, you're sending them a mixed message they may carry into adulthood.