Monday, April 22, 2013
Myths and Facts about Your Health and the Sun
When I was a teenager and a preteen, it was common to try to get a tan over the summer. In fact, we were under the impression that a pale person looked unhealthy!
We used sun tan lotion (SPF 4) to help us tan but not burn. I had friends who would apply baby oil instead of suntan lotion to help them tan. We had no idea what we were doing to ourselves nor of the possible consequences.
Today we know a lot more about what can happen if we spend a lot of time outdoors exposed to the sun. Still, there are some myths out there that I'd like to address. I've included one (probable) fact in today's list. See if you can pick it out!
1. Tanning at a salon is safer because you are exposed to a controlled dose of radiation. Sorry, but no. Indoor tanners actually have a higher risk of developing skin cancer than those who have only tanned outdoors. Click here to get more information on this.
2. Exposure to the sun is the best way to get vitamin D. Not really. The amount produced by your body after sun exposure is small and, considering the risks of skin cancer, it isn't the best way at all. Your best source is through the foods you ingest or from supplements.
3. You can't get a sunburn on a cloudy day. Up to 80 % of the sun's rays can penetrate clouds so this is a myth. Wear your sunscreen if you are going to spend time outdoors - even if it is overcast!
4. Wearing sunglasses can prevent cataracts. We aren't sure but limited studies seem to suggest that this is true. UV light may cause certain kinds of cataracts so wearing sunglasses seems like a good idea. Don't forget to wear them when you are out in the snow in winter as the reflection of sunlight off the snow can damage your eyes, as well!
5. Sunscreen causes skin cancer. *sighs* No, again, no. The perceived cause and effect of increased use of sunscreen leading to increased diagnosis of skin cancer is because of other factors. Please read this.
Image cropped from image found here