Summer months are wrapping up and the dog days of summer may be behind us but that doesn’t mean we can throw caution to the wind. Skin Cancer is always a very real concern and possible threat. There are many myths about sun exposure, tanning and everything quite literally under the sun. How do you determine what’s fact and what’s fiction? We’re taking the most popular myths out there and shining a light of truth on them.
MYTH: 80 percent of a person’s lifetime of sun exposure occurs before the age of 18, so the older you are it doesn’t matter how much sun you get.
FACT: You should take steps to prevent sun damage at every age. Only about 23 percent of lifetime sun exposure occurs by the time you’re 18.
MYTH: Tanning at a salon is much safer than tanning outside because you’re getting a controlled dose of UV ration.
FACT: Indoor tanners have a higher risk of all forms of skin cancer, even when compared to people who have never tanned indoors. A controlled dose of tanning lamp radiation is high and frequent tanners can receive 12 times the annual UVA dose they receive from exposure to the sun.
MYTH: Some ingredients found in sunscreen can cause cancer.
FACT: Research shows that sunscreens are safe and effective when used as directed. Use an SPF of 15 or higher as part of your sun protection regimen.
MYTH: The sun is the best way to get some Vitamin D.
FACT: Our bodies produce some Vitamin D after we are exposed to UVB rays. After approximately 5 – 10 minutes depending on the amount of sun, Vitamin D production reaches its maximum. Too much UV exposure actually breaks down Vitamin D to create inactive compounds. Not to mention too much sun increases your risk of skin cancer and accelerates aging. The safest way to get your Vitamin D? Diet and supplements.
MYTH: You can’t get sun damage on a cloudy day.
FACT: Clouds don’t equal a reprieve from damaging sun rays. Up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds and even fog.
MYTH: Getting a “base tan” protect your skin from sunburns.
FACT: There is no such thing as a safe tan. Any tan at all is actually a sign of skin damage. Skin tans are the body’s response to UV damage and a tan is the skin’s attempt to repair sun damage and prevent injury. These imperfect repairs can cause gene defects that can lead to skin cancer.
MYTH: Windows can protect us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
FACT: Glass does block most UVB rays, however UVA radiation can get through. You can tan or burn indoors or in a car with the windows up. Luckily, there are special window films you can have installed to block out UVA radiation too.
Now that we’ve told you the truth about some of the most popular myths out there, you’re armed with the knowledge you need about UVA and UVB rays. While the sun may seem harmless, it can cause cancer. It’s best to be as educated about skin cancer as possible so you know how you can prevent it.