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As We Head into Summer, Let’s Face the Facts



Fact or Myth: You only need to apply sunscreen when you are going outdoors.


Myth: Even on cloud covered days, 80% of UV radiation reaches the earth. UV rays can also penetrate through glass, so you get exposure when in the car, at home or work.



Fact or Myth: Darker skinned people do not need sunscreen.


Myth: Darker skinned people will take longer to burn and are less likely to notice sun damage to their skin, so often take longer to diagnose potential skin cancers.



Fact or Myth: There is not much difference in the protection of an SPF 30 and an SPF 50.


Fact: The percentage of protection from an SPF 30 is 97% vs SPF 50 at 98% sun protection

Many European countries and Australia have capped sunscreens at SPF 50, as it is felt that anything higher does not give adequate added protection and the higher percentages of chemicals in the products can cause greater risks of allergic reactions.



Fact or Myth: If you use a higher SPF you don’t need to reapply.


Myth: Higher factor sunscreens do not give you much more protection than the lower SPF factor sunscreens. (There can be as little as 2-3% difference.) Higher SPF sunscreens can lead to a false sense of security leading to overexposure to harmful UV radiation. It is important to reapply all sunscreens periodically when outdoors.



Fact or Myth: Sunscreens should be applied 20-30 minutes prior to sun exposure.


Fact: Sunscreens should be applied liberally to exposed areas of the skin 20-30 minutes prior to exposure and reapplied every 2 hours. You should also reapply after swimming, sweating or wiping the skin.



Fact or Myth: SPF relates only to the UVB protection factor of a sunscreen.


Fact: SPF or sun protection factor only relates to the amount of protection against UVB radiation. Sunscreens do not currently measure the amount of protection against harmful UVA or UVC rays.



Fact or Myth: I need sun to get enough Vitamin D.


Myth: Most people do not apply enough sunscreen to totally prevent the skin from getting the required exposure to produce Vitamin D. It only takes approximately 15 minutes of sun exposure to produce Vitamin D. If you are concerned about your vitamin D, oral supplements are a good option and better than overexposure to the sun with the risk of possible skin cancer!

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