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SUN PROTECTION FACTS

Common Myths About Sun Protection

You can't get a sunburn on a cloudy day.
Up to 80 percent of the UV rays that cause sun damage penetrate clouds, so your chances of getting sunburn on a cloudy day are quite high.  Also, since UV rays can be reflected off of water, sand, snow, and concrete, you can even get a sunburn in the shade or when skiing on a cold, winter day. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

Suntanned skin is healthy.
A suntan is a sign of skin damage, just like a sunburn. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

Indoor tanning is a healthier way to tan than lying in the sun.
Tanning beds also emit UV rays. This kind of exposure may not show damage immediately but, over time, it can break down the skin's collagen and elastin and can accelerate wrinkles, leathery skin and skin cancers. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

Wearing a t-shirt while in the sun will protect you from burning.
While clothing provides some protection, a standard white t-shirt only has an SPF of about 7. If it's wet, the SPF can go down as low as 3.  The darker and thicker the clothing, the more protection it provides. (Source: Skin Cancer Foundation)

If you have dark skin, you don't need to use sunscreen.
Although dark skin does not burn in the sun as easily as fair skin, the sun can still damage the skin. (Source: National Cancer Institute)

You need to sunbathe to make sure you have enough Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is present in everyday foods. The American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend deliberate sun exposure for the purpose of getting Vitamin D. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

SPFs over 30 don't give you more protection.
Sunscreens are rated or classified by the strength of their sun protection factor (SPF). The SPF numbers on the packaging can range from as low as 2 to greater than 50. These numbers refer to the product's ability to deflect the sun's burning rays (UVB). However, some sunscreens now include compounds such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and avobenzone which helps protect against UVA rays as well. The sunscreen SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin.

Many people mistakenly think that a sunscreen with an SPF 45 rating would give three times as much protection as one with an SPF of 15. This is not true. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens filter 98%, and SPF 100 filter 99%. The higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. No sunscreen protects you completely. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

If you've lathered yourself with a high SPF sunscreen, you're fully protected from the sun.
Skin care experts recommend using a combination of sun protection tactics that include seeking shade, using sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, a hat, and clothing that protects exposed skin. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)