San Antonio residents tend to be sun-savvy, as we live in one of the warmest climates in the nation. However, myths about sun exposure and sunburn abound, even here. Scan the statements below and see if you can discern fact from fiction.
“A suntan will protect you from sunburn”
FICTION: Studies have shown that a “base tan” provides, at best, the equivalent of 2 or 3 SPF sun protection in fair skinned individuals, which is essentially worthless. Furthermore, you are damaging your skin, hastening the aging process, and increasing your risk of cancer every time you get a tan!
“When choosing sunscreen, you should look for the highest SPF you can find”
FICTION: You should choose a broad-spectrum product with a rating of SPF 30. Although the level of protection increases with the number, we reach the point of diminishing return after SPF 30. That means higher numbers will provide minimal additional protection, yet the potency of potentially irritating ingredients are dramatically higher.
“Even one severe sunburn as a child will more than double your risk of developing skin cancer”
FACT: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the risk of skin cancers is directly related to cumulative sun damage throughout your lifetime. It’s never too early or too late to start being sun-safe.
“You can’t get sunburned on a cloudy day”
FICTION: Both UVA and UVB rays age your skin and increase your cancer risk. UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn, and they are partially blocked by cloud cover, depending on the density. Sunburn on a cloudy day is less likely, but not impossible. More importantly, UVA rays easily penetrate clouds, glass, or any other transparent material, harming your skin even if it doesn’t burn.
“The most dangerous time for sun exposure is between 10:00am and 4:00pm”
FACT: The precise time may vary slightly with the seasons and time change (to or from Daylight Savings), however late morning through midafternoon brings the most potent and dangerous UV rays.
Sun protection can be much simpler than it sounds. If you find the vast array of sunscreen products confusing, or you have been unable to find one that is convenient and compatible with your skin, talk to Dr. Vivian Bucay. She is a board-certified dermatologist who offers a full range of services, including patient education. She can help you achieve healthy, beautiful skin and choose the right products and habits to keep it that way. Call 210-692-3000 and schedule an appointment today.