Seven Serious Myths About Sun Safety
Ah, it's summertime. Ready to get outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather? How about that glorious sunshine? Before you head outside this summer, it’s important to know exactly how to protect yourself from the sun. But with a myriad of conflicting information online, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Are you aware of just how many misconceptions there are surrounding sun safety? If not, don’t worry – few people are! That's why we're here to give you a breakdown of what you need to know in order to stay sun-safe this summer.
Here are the seven most common sun safety myths out there – along with some helpful tips so you don’t fall victim to them!
1. You Don’t Need Sunscreen If You Have Dark Skin
This notion is definitely false – even if you have darker skin, you can still get burned. Exposure to UV radiation is dangerous to all of us, even to those with darker complexions.
While people with darker skin do produce more melanin, giving them added natural protection against UV radiation, this pigment can’t do what sunscreen (and overall sun-safe practices) can. Dark-skinned individuals can still get sunburned, and they can also develop skin cancer from UV damage. Therefore, no matter what type of skin you have, it’s important to keep it protected!
2. You Can Stay in the Sun Longer if You Use a Higher SPF
This one is a big no-no. The number on your sunscreen bottle is not an indicator of how long you can stay outside in the sun. Rather, the number of your SPF indicates the proportion of UV rays that are blocked when you lather up.
In fact, SPF 30 and SPF 50 actually offer relatively similar levels of protection. An SPF of 30 blocks 96.7% of UV rays, while an SPF of 50 blocks 98%. However, no matter which level of protection you’re considering, you must always (emphasis on the always) reapply your sunscreen. This rule is even more important if you’ve been swimming or sweating a significant amount.
3. You Can’t Get Sunburned Through a Window
Just because you’re inside, doesn’t mean you’re completely protected from the sun. While non-tinted glass (like the kind most commonly used in home windows) does reduce the intensity of UV rays, it does not block the transmission of UV radiation entirely.
You know what that means – your skin can still experience the negative effects of UV rays through many different types of windows. If it’s not darkly tinted, you’re not appropriately protected. So, if you’re in a car for a road trip this summer, or even just reading by a window in your home, be sure to lather on the sunscreen! You’ll thank us later.
4. You Don’t Need Sun Protection If You Tan Easily
There's really no such thing as a healthy tan. As much as we all love looking nice and glowy, a tan is really just UV damage to your skin cells. It means that your skin has tried to produce melanin in order to protect itself from further damage, which is what creates the darker color.
Unfortunately, if you’re tan, it means that your skin has already experienced extensive sun damage. So be sure to always wear sun protection no matter what (even if you tan super easily). Wear sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, and always don a hat when you can!
5. You Can’t Get Burned on a Cloudy Day
False, false, false. This is one of the most common myths we hear about sun safety – and one that we are eager to debunk! Did you know that up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through the clouds and right down onto your skin, even when the sky is gray? Yep. So, don’t forget your sunscreen on the beach this summer, even if the sun isn’t shining brightly.
6. You Can’t Get Skin Cancer If You Don’t Lay Out in the Sun
We really wish this one was true, but it's not. Intentional exposure to the sun isn't the only way you can get skin cancer. Especially in particularly high UV environments, simply going outside can be dangerous for your skin. But don't let that statement scare you – instead, let it motivate you to be more protective of your skin. So, whether you're working in the garden, walking the dog, or sitting on the patio as the sun goes down, be sure you are as protected as possible.
7. Your Eyes Can’t Get Burned
Sorry to report, folks – this one's a myth, too. Your eyes can, in fact, get burned. And when they do, it's pretty uncomfortable. Damage to the eyes from the sun is called photokeratitis. Luckily, you can wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays (which we also happen to think are a great excuse to make a fashion statement). Be sure to purchase shades that are polarized with 100% UV protection in order to effectively protect them from sun damage.
If you do anything for yourself this summer, let it be protecting your skin! By following our sun safety tips, you can reduce your chances of skin cancer and maintain a youthful complexion for years to come. Plus, when you choose our UPF 50+ pieces, you can protect yourself in a simple and fashionable way. Check out our new arrivals today!
Also in Sun Protection Blog & News
Welcome to Sun School! We are hosting our Sun School Series to educate more on the importance of sun safety. We will feature a dermatologist every month on our blog and on a live Q&A with our founder Melissa Papock. We are so excited to feature Dr. Jenny Sobera. She is a Board Certified Dermatologist & founder and owner of Village Dermatology.