Dangerous Myths About Sun Exposure

When it comes to safety in the sun, most people understand that getting sunburned or browning themselves is bad for their skin, says Dr. Joshua L. Fox, the medical director of Advanced Dermatology, PC. People are often clueless, however, about the simpler (yet more important) aspects of sun safety, unknowingly exposing themselves to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Dr. Fox has highlighted some common sun exposure myths which may place people at an increased risk of developing wrinkles or skin cancer.

  • A “base tan” will help prevent skin cancer and sun damage – “Tanning only provides an SPF of 4, well below the recommended SPF,” says Dr. Fox. Even in small increments, excessive sun exposure will cause wrinkling, and possibly skin cancer.
  • Sun exposure is necessary for Vitamin D – “Most people know that the sun plays a role in producing Vitamin D, which is vital for bone development,” says Dr. Fox. But you can also get Vitamin D by keeping a diet rich in fortified foods and taking supplements.
  • Tanning beds are safer than direct exposure to the sun – “Indoor tanning increases an individual’s risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, by seventy-five percent,” says Dr. Fox. Several states are beginning to recognize the dangers associated with tanning beds, restricting (if not outright banning) their use by minors.
  • SPF 30 offers twice the protection of SPF 15 – “This statement is entirely false,” says Dr. Fox. SPF refers to protection against UVB rays, not the more harmful UVA rays; only sunscreens marked “broad spectrum” or containing a physical block offer protection against UVA rays. In addition, protection against UVB rays does not proportionally increase with the SPF level. While on the topic of sunscreen, Dr. Fox wants to remind people to apply roughly an ounce of sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.
  • You look better (and healthier) with a tan – “A tan is nothing more than evidence of sun damage,” says Dr. Fox. Instead, you should just use a self-tanner and sunscreen for that tanned, healthy look, without the sun damage.

Schedule Your Complete Body Examination Today

Whether or not you have previously believed these myths, your body should be regularly checked for moles, sun damage, and other possible signs of skin cancer. Contact Advanced Dermatology today to schedule a complete body examination with one of our board-certified dermatologists. Our conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens, Long Island (Nassau County and Suffolk County), New York City, Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.

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