Even though the sun comes out every day and provides us with light, warmth and our productive daytime hours, it remains mysterious. That’s probably because the sun is so far away, we can’t actually touch it or study it, so there’s things about it that we can only try to understand. What many people don’t realize is that the sun is always at work, even on cloudy days. And though we need it to survive, it’s something that we also need to protect ourselves from.
Let’s take a look at four common sun myths and the truths behind them.
Myth #1. A suntan is perfectly fine as long as you don’t burn.
While tan skin is the preferred look for many, it still puts you at risk for sun damage and skin cancer. The more sun you get, the more likely you are to develop certain skin cancers, even if you don’t burn. But if you do burn, keep in mind that just one serious burn may double the chances of developing melanoma. Bottom line: Anytime your skin turns tan, it indicates damage to the skin.
Myth #2. Sun can’t penetrate through the windows.
You may think that you’re safe from sun damage when you’re indoors, but normal glass does not block UVA rays. It only filters out UVB rays, which means you’re still at risk for damage, especially if you spend a lot of time near a window. You can protect yourself by applying sunscreen to exposed areas like your face, arms and hands, but an even better solution is to have window film installed. This film blocks 99% of UVA rays.
Myth #3. Not enough sun causes a vitamin D deficiency.
You may think you’re doing yourself a favor by getting some much-needed vitamin D. The truth is that both kids and adults get plenty of this vitamin from everyday sun exposure and vitamin-D rich foods like milk and fortified orange juice. Multivitamins are available if you do happen to be deficient. Don’t go without sunscreen just to give yourself added vitamin D – it’s not necessary.
Myth #4. If it’s cloudy or cool outside, you don’t need sunscreen.
When you don’t see the sun shining, it’s easy to assume that you can go without sunscreen. What’s there to hurt you anyway? Unfortunately, this is just another myth. As much as 80% of the sun’s rays can pass through the clouds. You may have had this happen to you: you spend a day in the pool or at an amusement park on a cloudy day, only to end up with sunburn. Cold days are no exception either. Snow can reflect UV rays, increasing exposure.
We hope that these myths have helped shed light on the dangers of the sun and how to keep yourself protected. There’s no reason to fear the sun – getting outdoors is a wonderful way to boost your energy and mood. Just be sure that you take the proper precautions both indoors and out to protect your health.