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Sun Safety: Fact vs. Fiction

sunny beach dayWith summer rapidly approaching, it’s time we reminded ourselves about the severity of skin cancer. With 67,753 people diagnosed with skin cancer in 2012 alone, skin cancer stands as the most prevalent cancer in the United States. In fact, one-in-five people will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives  whether it be melanoma, basal cell, or any other form of skin cancer.

Despite the sun’s obvious hazards, people still shirk off their sunscreen duties in favor of sporting a tan. Sunscreen stands as the best defense to combat dangerous UV rays, however, many people still believe in a number of myths surrounding skin cancer, downplaying its severity. Therefore, we looked at some of these myths and debunked them to illuminate the truth about UV rays and their harm.

Fiction: Sitting under an umbrella while at the beach is all the sun protection you need.

Fact: You can still get sunburnt even if you sat under an umbrella all day. A number of umbrellas don’t actually block 100% of UV rays and you can still get sunburnt from the UV rays that reflect off of the sand.

Fiction: Waterproof sunscreen exists

Fact: Because no waterproof sunscreen exists, the FDA has actually banned sunscreen companies from saying their products are waterproof. Instead, they must refer to them as water-resistant. It’s important that you use water-resistant sunscreen if you plan on going swimming or participating in any outdoor activity that may make you sweat. Some of the better water-resistant sunscreens are capable of keeping you protected from the sun for about 80 minutes.

Fiction: You just need to put sunscreen on in the morning and you’ll be protected all day.

Fact: Untrue. Regardless of the SPF, experts recommend that you should reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes, as sunscreen is incapable of keeping you protected all day.

Fiction: UV rays can’t reach you if it’s cloudy out.

Fact: On cloudy days, 80% of UV rays still penetrate the clouds and reach the ground, leaving you vulnerable even if it’s overcast. Therefore, it’s wise to wear sunscreen everyday, regardless of the weather.

Fiction: SPF 60 is twice as effective as SPF 30

Fact: While SPF 60 is more effective, it’s only 1.6% more effective than SPF 30. Don’t fret about which SPF you use; just make sure you reapply frequently. It may even be smarter to use a lower SPF, as higher SPF sunscreens are likely using more chemicals that may be harmful to your body.

For any concerns regarding a recent sunburn, visit us at AFC Urgent Care Watertown. Some sunburns may cause nausea and rashing, which we treat at our center. For more information, call us at 617.923.2273. Have a great summer and remember to put sunscreen on every morning.