Clear Up Some Common Misconceptions

Summer has arrived and while the sun is shining bright it's a golden time to highlight July as UV Safety Awareness Month! Yes, we all love to take in those warm summer rays and probably most of us are well aware of how bad too much sun exposure is for skin and eyes.

It can cause skin damage and make you look older faster.

Read on to clear up the most common misconceptions about UV rays and sunscreens and find out how you can protect yourself - while being able to enjoy what summer has to offer.

1 - False: Wearing darker sunglasses offer more protection

The color or darkness of your sunglasses has nothing to do with its ability to filter out UV rays. You can wear glasses with very dark tint but, without adequate protection, it can still allow excessive UV rays to get into your eyes. For your eyes’ safety, choose a pair of sunglasses that can filter at least 98% of UVA and UVB rays. 

Purchase lenses that have UV coating or buy polycarbonate lenses with built-in UV coverage. Photo-chromatic lenses make a good choice, too. This type of lens transitions from clear to dark once exposed to UV rays.

2 - False: You can’t get sunburn while you are in the water

Water can indeed provide protection against UV rays but it’s only minimal. In fact, if you submerge your body half a meter deep under the water, UV rays can still reach your skin. The part of your body that is above water is also exposed to more intense radiation because of the water’s reflection.

3 - False: You can sunbathe as much as you want so long as you have sunscreen on

Sunscreen lotion isn’t meant to increase the hours you can spend under the sun. It’s supposed to give you added protection during those times you can’t stay away from the sun. And even if you take frequent breaks from sunbathing, it won’t really affect the damage your skin will get. Radiation exposure tends to be cumulative. If you want to lessen the harmful effects of the sun, reduce your exposure.

4 - False: A cloudy day can save you from getting sunburn

Even if it’s a cloudy day, do not put your skin’s health at risk. UV rays can penetrate clouds, fog and mist. At certain times, the rays can even be magnified by reflecting off the sides of clouds. Don’t feel safe just because you can’t see the sun.

5 - False: All sunscreen lotions are the same

There are two types of UV rays. UVA rays are what can penetrate your skin’s deeper layers. They are responsible for premature skin aging, wrinkling and lower immune system. UVB rays, on the other hand, are the usual culprits behind sunburn. Much like how UV rays differ, not all sunscreens are the same. In essence, you can’t rely on a product that’s meant to protect you against UVA to defend you from UVB rays, too. For your optimum protection, pick a sunscreen that can provide broad spectrum protection.

6 - False: You should only avoid sun exposure at noon

The sun’s UV radiation is at its strongest between 10 am to 4 pm. During these hours, it’s best to avoid direct sun exposure. If going out is inevitable, use an umbrella or walk under the shade to reduce exposure.

7 - False: You don’t have to reapply your sunscreen

Most sunscreens can last for about two hours on the skin. At times, sunscreens may not even last that long. As your skin uses up the ingredients, your protection against the sun decreases. In addition to that, swimming, sweating and getting wet can also make your sunscreen wear off faster. If you know you’ll be exposed to these conditions, make sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours and wait for it to soak into your skin before diving into the water again.

8 - False: Getting a higher SPF will give you better protection

Generally speaking, a sunscreen with SPF 30 can be enough to block out 96% of UVB rays. That is, if it’s applied properly and in the right amount. A sunscreen with a higher SPF will only give you very little difference. SPF 50, for example, can block out 98% of UV rays while SPF 75 can provide 99% protection. There’s no sunscreen that can block out 100% UV rays.

Such Vitamins as Vitamin C and Vitamin E are antioxidants and can help counteract oxidation damages caused by sunlight, while Beta-Carotene may contribute to boost skin’s natural defence. Make sure you get enough of these vitamins for some beneficial effects on the skin, trying to reduce the likelihood of sunburn irritation that occurs following prolonged exposure to sun.

What about Vitamin D? It’s true, your body needs Vitamin D and one significant source of Vitamin D comes from the sun – but, spending too much time in the sun is harmful for your skin. Fortunately, there are Vitamin D supplements that can get you what you need.

* Vitamin C and E contribute to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.

* Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal skin.

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