Sun Care Myths

Did you know that skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths among young people? Despite all the research and data available about the importance of safe sun care, the number of new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year is on the rise.

In today’s blog post, let’s look at six sun care myths and debunk them. 

Myth: Any sunblock provides adequate protection.

This myth is true and false. Be picky when it comes to your sunscreen and choose a sunblock that works with your skin tone. For instance, if you have pale skin and burn easily, it’s important to use a sunblock with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher. If you have darker skin and don’t burn as easily, it’s okay to grab an option with less than SPF 30. 

In addition to using sunscreen with enough SPF, stay hydrated during long days in the sun. After intense sun exposure, slather lotion or cream on your skin to prevent future dryness or peeling. Remember that your lips can burn too, and use a chapstick with SPF as well.

Myth: Sunscreen is enough to protect me.

In truth, clothing is the best protection. When possible, wear pants and long-sleeve shirts made of cotton or other light, breathable materials. Know that, while dark colors do a better job of blocking the rays, they also make you hotter. You should also wear a baseball cap or wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face, neck, and eyes from ultraviolet rays. It’s especially important to wear sunglasses in the water and snow, as these surfaces reflect the sun. Direct sunlight on the eye may lead to cataracts and even cancer of the eye tissue.

Myth: A sunburn once a year won’t do long-term damage.

Sun exposure without protection alters the skin’s cells and leads to irreversible damage, including sun spots, wrinkles, freckles, and melanoma or other forms of skin cancer. Beyond using proper protection, try to limit your exposure to 10 to 15 minutes at a time to allow your skin to adjust to the sun’s rays. Also consider spending time outside in the early morning or late afternoon, as the rays are less direct and harmful.

Myth: A tan prevents you from getting a sunburn.

Remember: Repeated sun damage causes the skin’s cells to change! With too much tanning, the skin eventually can’t regenerate itself.

Myth: You can’t get a sunburn on a cloudy day. 

Over 60 percent of ultraviolet rays pass through clouds, making it completely possible to end up with a sunburn despite cloud coverage. 

Myth: You can only get sunburned at the beach or pool.

Surfaces like grass, sand, pavement, and snow reflect the sun’s rays, creating a magnifying effect that can damage skin even more than direct exposure. Incorporate sunscreen into your morning routine and apply it each day before leaving the house — no matter the weather and no matter where you’re going! Be sure to reapply every 90 to 120 minutes.

Contact Dr. Asha Tota-Maharaj, MD at Platinum Primary Care with all your healthcare needs. Come visit us at 2071 Dundee Drive in Winter Park.