Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Just in Time for Summer: Sunscreen Facts vs Myths

We all know that sunscreen is important. We slap it on our body every summer. It's in our moisturizers and our makeup. But are you really protecting your skin? Here are some surprising myths and facts about how to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays.

Myth: People with dark skin can spend more time in the sun without harm.
Fact: Melanin, the compound that colors one’s skin, provides a SPF of about 1.5 to 2, which lowers the risk of skin cancer in people of color. However, this does not eliminate the risk. Because people of color tend to assume they’re naturally protected, they’re often diagnosed with skin cancer when it’s more advanced and potentially fatal. It is essential that people of color use sunscreen to protect themselves from skin cancer, sunburns, and aging.

Myth: If you're not burnt, your skin is OK.
Fact: If your skin changes color at all, you're experiencing sun damage. Sure, a burn is worse for your skin, but both doctors agree that chronic sun damage (through a tan), can also have lasting results

Myth: Using sunscreen lowers vitamin D levels in your body.
Fact: In order to get your daily Vitamin D, you need to be exposed to the sun for about 15 minutes a day, depending on latitude and season. After the needed amount of time, your body’s production of Vitamin D stops. We do not continuously make and produce Vitamin D every time we are exposed to the sun. If you are unable to get those 15 minutes of exposure a day, some foods with Vitamin D are salmon, tuna, mackerel, cheese, and fortified milk.

Myth: 80% of my exposure to damaging UV rays occurs before the age of 18.
Fact: Only 25 percent of total UV exposure occurs before the age of 18, according to research conducted by the Skin Cancer Foundation. You’ll protect your skin at any age when you start applying sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.

Myth: If you sit under a beach umbrella, you don’t need sunscreen since the beach umbrella blocks the sun’s rays.
Fact: Actually, the sand reflects 17% of UV radiation. You still need to wear sunscreen and protective clothing if you’re relaxing under an umbrella on the beach.