Common Misconceptions About the Sun

sun exposure and skin cancer

It’s all fun in the sun until somebody gets burned…

If it is cloudy outside, you don’t need sunscreen.

Fact: The Skin Cancer Foundation states that up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds. People often end up with serious sunburns on overcast days if they do not protect their skin. Even in the winter months, you need to be cautious –snow can reflect up to 80% of UV rays, increasing your exposure.

It is fine to tan, just not burn.

Fact: We all know that even one sunburn may double your chance of developing melanoma – you can still be at risk with no burns. “The more sun you get, the more likely you are to develop certain skin cancers” says Martin Weinstock, MD chairman of the American Cancer Society’s Skin Cancer Advisory Group. This is regardless of your skin tone. “Any tan indicates damage to your skin”. The darker you become; the more you are damaging your DNA!

Sun can’t penetrate through windows.

Fact: Glass only filters out UVB rays. UVA rays can still get through. You may notice that you have more freckles on the left side of your face – this comes from UV exposure on that side while driving a car. You can reduce this risk by wearing sunscreen and considering tinted car windows.

Too much sunscreen causes vitamin D deficiency.

Fact: You are probably getting enough vitamin D through your diet or multivitamins. If you are protecting your skin with sunscreen, small amounts of UV rays still penetrate your skin and that is plenty to help your body produce vitamin D.

Most sun damage occurs before the age of 18.

Fact: Recent studies show that we get less than 25% of our total lifetime sun exposure before age 18. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t important to protect your kids, it just means you still have to protect yourself! Also, it sets a good example for your kids.