5 Myths About Protecting Yourself from Skin Cancer


Sara spends much of her summer near the beach. She lives in amild climate and is very athletic. She loves to swim, bike andplay games outdoors. Sara knows the dangers of the sun and so sheopts for tanning salons to get her ‘golden glow’ while being sureto apply sunscreen every day before heading out.

Joseph lives in a cooler, northern climate. The summers can bevery humid, but most of the year is mild or even below freezingduring the harshest winter months. The beach has never been muchof a draw for him and he spends most of his time doing indooractivities or at his job. Joseph doesn’t worry about sunscreenand only had one sunburn that he can remember and that was whenhe was a child.

Which of these examples do you most associate yourself with? Didyou know that Sara and Joseph are both at risk of developing skincancer? We have all heard the warnings about the dangers of sunexposure. We know all about the importance of wearing sunscreenand hats. But are YOU protected from skin cancer? Consider thesemyths and facts:

MYTH ONE: Tanning Beds are Safer than the Sun

20 minutes of exposure in a tanning bed is roughly equivalent tofour hours in the sun. Although sun beds use UVA rather than UVBrays, ‘The Skin Cancer Answer’ states that “UV-A penetrates moredeeply into the skin than UV-B, can cause skin cancer, and maysuppress the immune system.”

MYTH TWO: Wearing Sunscreen at the Beach is Protection

85 percent of UV rays can even make it through on cloudy days.That means you are equally at risk in the car, walking the dog orletting your children out to play at any time of year – even whenyou’re not at the beach. Of course, you are usually less attiredat the beach and so covering up is recommended even when wearingsunscreen. Sunscreen also wears off with sweat and water andshould always be applied every two hours or after getting wet.

MYTH THREE: Taking Care Of Your Skin Now Will Protect You

Sadly, skin cancer can take 20 or more years to develop. The SkinCancer Foundation states that most people receive about 80percent of their lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18. Just one blistering sunburn in childhood is estimated to doublethe risk of melanoma later in life. Taking better care now willreduce the risk, but not eliminate the damage already done.

MYTH FOUR: Having a Tan Means You’re More Protected

Dark skinned individuals are less likely to develop cancer, buttanned skin is actually damaged skin. Repeated tanning injuresthe skin and increases the risk of skin cancer.

MYTH FIVE: You Can’t get Burned on Overcast Days

Just because the sun is hidden by some cloud does not mean that you don’t need protection from the harmful effects of the suns rays.

So how do you plan to protect your family this year? Somesuggestions are to limit exposure to the sun – especially forinfants. Examine your skin for early signs of damage. Use asunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and apply it at least 30 minutesbefore exposure and every two hours after that. Teach yourchildren good safety habits and be sure you and they are coveredup when outdoors. Have fun and be safe.  The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

Losing weight will keep you healthy and have a long life. Cheer Up!

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