HEALTH

Suntan Myths

We bust 7 of the most common myths about being in the sun... and some of them may surprise you.

vitamin d

It’s true that sunlight does provide our bodies with vitamin D, but it is not a reason to overexpose yourself with harmful UV rays.


The “sunshine vitamin” has shown to improve heart and bone heath, and even help prevent certain types of cancers. But, experts say that very limited exposure to natural sun—only about two to 10 minutes a day, is enough to get the benefits of vitamin D.


You can totally avoid potential wrinkles by consuming your vitamin D orally. Many foods, such as milk, fish and oranges are fortified with it, and it can also be bought over-the-counter in supplement form.

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Using a tanning bed is safer

Research has shown that the amount of radiation from indoor tanning is the same and sometimes higher that from natural sunlight.


Natural sunlight has UVA and UVB rays. Indoor tanning salons claim to be safer because their bulbs only produce UVB rays. But, both can cause melanoma.


If you can’t bear to go without bronzed skin, try a salon that has spray tanning.

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If I am underwater I can’t get sunburned

Not only does shallow water provide very minimal protection against the sun, it can sometimes enhance it.


Reflections of light in the water can increase the level of UV exposure to your skin. So be sure to slather on plenty of water-proof sunscreen before hitting the pool.

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If my makeup has SPF in it, that’s enough

A thin layer of foundation with SPF is not enough skin protection when spending time in the sun, and is usually not high enough in sun protection.


The Skin Cancer Foundation advises people to use an SPF moisturizer containing broad-spectrum sunscreen underneath make-up, even if the make-up already claims to have SPF. Broad-spectrum sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and should have an SPF rating of at least 15.

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I am dark-skinned, so I am safe from skin damage and cancer

Although brown and darker toned skin has more melanin, or skin pigment that protects better against UV rays, that doesn’t mean you have 100 percent protection against skin cancer.
Moles are more difficult to spot on dark skin than on light skin. A missed abnormal mole is a major risk factor for melanoma, which is all the more reason to keep an extra careful watch on your sun exposure.

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Getting a ‘base tan’ will protect my skin from sun damage

This might be one of the most common myths of all. A tan will not protect you from the sun, it is actually the skin’s reaction to damage from the sun.
Every time a person tans, damage accumulates and speeds up the aging process. The only way to protect yourself from a sunburn is with sunscreen and protective clothing.

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If I put on one application of sunscreen before going outside I am set for the day

A common problem with sunscreen is that it can give people a false sense of security. Slapping on some sunscreen in the car on the way to the beach is not enough, and it will not protect you all day.


Sunscreen needs to be reapplied at least every two hours, and more often if sweating or swimming. Make sure you pay attention and apply it evenly, or you could end up with a blotchy sunburn.

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Suntan Myths

We bust 7 of the most common myths about being in the sun... and some of them may surprise you.

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