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5 sun exposure myths debunked

Published almost 2 years ago, by Mircea Popa

It's  fairly easy to ignore the health of your skin while your feet are buried in the sand and you're taking in the smell of the salty, ocean air. Heck[2] , it's mental health, right? You slap on some SPF 30, enough to "protect you," but light enough to still get you that color you've been dying for. You're all set!

But in actuality, you may be ignoring the many other contributing factors in maintaining your skin's health and preventing skin cancer, which is still the No. 1 most common form of cancer in the U.S[3] . And with all the varying opinions these days about tanning, sunscreen and exposure, it's no wonder we ignore it.

But here are 5 sun exposure myths debunked just for you, so you don't have to ignore it anymore.

Myth: Tanning beds are actually safer than lying out in the sun because the UV exposure is controlled.

Reality: Yes, while the dose of UV exposure is in fact controlled, it's a very high dosage. Compared to those of us who lie out by the pool, indoor tanners actually have a much higher risk of developing skin cancer. And if you're a frequent tanner using those fancy, high-pressure beds, you may be receiving up to 12 times the annual UVA dose. And let's not forget: while you may feel more confident with that bronze glow now, frequent sunburns and hours of tanning can result in permanent skin damage, dark spots and premature aging and wrinkling. 

Myth: I don't have to wear sunscreen because it's cloudy outside.

Myth: As long as I have a "base tan," I won't get a sunburn.

Reality: Any tan is damage to your skin in some way. As soon as the UV rays reach you, they immediately start damaging the cells in your epidermis[6] , which increase the blood flow to the area and account for that sensitive redness. Even one sunburn[7]  can double your chances of developing sin cancer down the road.

Myth: I wear SPF 50, so I'm all set.

Myth: Sun is the best source of Vitamin D.

Reality: The sun does help your body produce Vitamin D, but it's not the only source of the essential nutrient. Your everyday, regular exposure to the sun, as well as multivitamins and certain foods (milk, eggs, some fish, etc), is plenty enough to keep you healthy. And while it's still debated, just because you're wearing sunscreen, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be dangerously low on Vitamin D.

Sources: Skin Cancer Foundation, EPA, AAD, Vitamin D Council