Exposure to ultraviolet rays is the main cause of skin cancer. Both sun damage and artificial tanning can put you at risk for developing this disease. Unfortunately, there are some common myths that may prevent you from fully protecting your skin. Here are some of these dangerous myths, as well as some facts to keep in mind the next time you hit the beach.
You might lather on sunscreen on hot and sunny days, only to forgo this protection when spending time in the shade. However, it’s important to remember that UV radiation can reach you in shady spots as well. This happens when it bounces off of surfaces like water and sand.
A similar principle applies on cloudy days. About 80 percent of UV rays can move through clouds, so you still need to wear SPF. As a rule, you should always apply sunscreen to exposed skin whenever you’ll be spending time outdoors.
It’s a common misconception that skin cancer only affects light-skinned people. While it’s true that individuals with dark skin have a lower risk of skin cancer, you can still experience sun damage. This is also true for anyone who tans easily. No matter the shade of your skin, you should still take measures to protect it.
There is no safe form of tanning. In fact, just one indoor tanning session increases your risk of developing melanoma before the age of 35 by 75 percent. When you get a tan, your skin produces more melanin to prevent genetic damage from the sun or artificial UV light. Excess tanning can also cause issues like wrinkles and sun spots. Prevent skin cancer and early signs of aging by using SPF and wearing protective clothing.
The myth of the base tan is one of the most common sun damage misconceptions. Many people believe that getting a tan before vacation, where they’ll have long periods of sun exposure, will protect them from sun damage. However, experts have found that a base tan is equivalent to wearing SPF three or four. And you can sustain UV damage from that initial tanning session. True sun protection is your best bet while enjoying a vacation.
Among people with melanoma, the average age of diagnosis is 65. However, this doesn’t mean people in their teens, twenties, and thirties shouldn’t think about skin cancer. In fact, melanoma is one of the most common types of cancer that develops in young adults. Sun damage that leads to skin cancer starts at a young age, so it’s never too early to take sun protection seriously.
If you want to learn more about ways to protect your skin from the sun, contact the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists. Our knowledgeable team is available to discuss your skin cancer risk, perform thorough skin exams, and provide skin cancer treatment. We are accepting new patients in our Long Beach, Seal Beach, Torrance, Downey, Montebello, and Carson, CA locations.