Do You Know Sunscreen Fact from Fiction?
Contributed By: Dr. Hal Simeroth
We all know that excessive sun exposure can be bad for our skin and our health. But, there are many myths surrounding sunscreen and sun exposure that continue to linger. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, each year more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States, and the sun’s UV rays cause more than 90% of those. Test your summer sun knowledge with our Sunscreen Fact or Fiction quiz.
Fact or Fiction: Most of the skin damage we associate with aging – wrinkles, discoloration, sagging – is UV related and can be prevented.
Fact! According to a recent study, up to 80% of skin aging can be blamed on UV ray exposure.
Fact or Fiction: A few sunburns over a lifetime won’t hurt you.
Fiction! Even one, single sunburn can increase your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. And suffering five or more sunburns doubles your lifetime risk!
Fact or Fiction: You should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside.
Fact! Apply at least one ounce of sunscreen to your body at least 30 minutes prior to going outside. Then reapply every two hours, after swimming and after excessive sweating. If you are planning on being outdoors more than usual, use a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Fact or Fiction: If you get out of the sun when you skin starts to turn red, you should be okay.
Fiction! Act quickly at the first sign of skin reddening. Get out of the sun and start treatment. Sunburns can take up to six hours for symptoms to develop. Blisters can develop hours or even days after a particularly bad sunburn. So if you’re seeing red, chances are it will only get worse.
Fact or Fiction: Flu-like symptoms can be signs of sunburn.
Fact! Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, nausea, headache and weakness, can all be caused by sunburn. These symptoms can appear within a few hours or a few days after sunburn occurs.
Fact or Fiction: There isn’t a medicine that can help your sunburn heal.
Fiction! Take a dose of ibuprofen at the first sign of sunburn and keep it up for the next 48 hours. This will reduce swelling and redness, and may even prevent some long-term skin damage.
Fact or Fiction: Peeling skin is your body’s way of attempting to rid itself of damaged cells.
Fact! Peeling and itching are some of the last signs of sunburn and your body’s way to rid itself of sun-damaged cells. Reduce the urge to scratch and pick at skin. It will only make the healing process take longer and could permanently scar your skin.
Your best strategy for saving your skin is prevention, attention and action (PAA). What are you doing to prepare for the summer sun? Tell us in the comments.
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