Do you believe these 3 myths about sunburns?

Red, dry, itchy, painful sunburns? Nope, summer 2019 does not have time for that! We know how important it is to keep our skin protected this time of year. And yet, the number of skin cancer cases continues to rise across Canada. As much as we can reiterate how important it is to protect our skin, we’ve noticed there are a lot of common myths about sun protection that need to be debunked, so let’s jump right in. 

Myth #1: I can’t get a sunburn on a cloudy day.

Raise your hand if you’ve believed this and have STILL gotten a sunburn? Yep, while the clouds may be covering the sun it does not block out the UVA/UVB rays that contribute to sunburns. The same is true if you think you are completely protected by staying under an umbrella or in the shade. These instances do not protect against indirect rays from water, sand, or smooth, pale surfaces like concrete that reflect rays from the sun. So even though it doesn’t look sunny out, stick your sunscreen in your bag before you head out.

Myth #2: Getting a base tan from a tanning salon, will protect my skin from sunburn.

No level of tanning, artificial or otherwise can protect against the harmful effects of the sun. It’s amazing how many times we hear this, especially at the start of summer. Getting a “first burn” or a “base tan” will not help protect your skin from sunburn for the rest of the summer. You can just as easily get a sunburn with tanned skin as with pale skin. And a reminder that any tan, light or dark is actually a sign of skin cell damage, which is what you want to avoid!

Myth #3: If I didn’t get a sunburn then I didn’t cause any damage to my skin.

Even when you manage to finish a long day in the sun without your skin getting burned it doesn’t mean you got away from the UVA/UVB rays. Sunscreen can only protect so much, and those rays are still doing their damage even if you’re not fully burning from them. You don’t necessarily have to see the damage to know it is there. It is also the same if you have darker skin. You still need to wear sunscreen even if you never get a sunburn. Darker skin naturally blocks part of the sun’s rays but not all of them. Darker skin will not make you immune to the other harmful effects of the sun.

There are many different types of sunscreen on the market. It is important to pick the appropriate one for you. Remember to apply 30 minutes before going out into the sun, applying the right amount and reapplying often. The most common mistake made when applying sunscreen is not using enough. If you don’t use enough sunscreen then it will not provide the protection as advertised.

We don’t mean to spoil your fun in the sun this summer, but it is important to understand the facts about the health effects the sun has on our skin. Don’t feel like you have to hide inside, combine the appropriate use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen, keeping to the shade when possible, and you can have a great summer while still protecting your skin! We should always do what we can to protect ourselves from the sun and face the truth about tanning and sunburns.

Do you know of any other sunburn myths you’ve heard? Or do you have any questions about sunscreen? Let us know in the comments!

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