Dermatologists Bust 4 Sun Safety Myths

Medical Advice Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider. Never disregard medical advice or delay care because of something you have read in this content.

1. Myth: Using SPF always causes vitamin D deficiency.

Fact: Vitamin D is necessary for proper bone health. While sunlight can provide some Vitamin D necessary for overall health, it’s possible to get enough Vitamin D through dietary intake.

Dr. Geeta Yadav, Board-certified dermatologist and founder of FACET Dermatology confirms that getting Vitamin D through supplements and dietary intake is safer than sun exposure. She stated, “the amount of Vitamin D gained by unprotected sun exposure is minimal and not worth the risk of developing skin cancer or premature aging”. She also added that fatty fish, fortified foods (like cereal), and dairy products are common sources of dietary Vitamin D.

2. Myth: Sunscreen isn’t necessary in the winter months.

Fact: Even when the sun isn’t directly visible and it doesn’t feel hot, UV rays are still present.

Dr. Nadir Qazi, DO, a board-certified physician, cosmetic dermatology surgeon, and owner of Qazi Cosmetic Clinic located in Irvine, Calif, USA weighed in on this myth. He clarified that UVB rays are still present on overcast days, and can lead to skin cancers.

Dr. Yadav echoed these thoughts, stating, “On gloomy days, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate the clouds”. Additionally, snow is reflective enough to actually cause sunburns and skin damage. Daily sunscreen application will not only prevent skin cancer, but also premature skin aging. Dr. Yadav encourages everyone to find a sunscreen formula that works for them, and stick to it.

3. Myth: It’s not necessary to wear sunscreen when you’re always inside.

Fact: Indoor lights can also cause skin damage.

Dr. Qazi added, “Even if you’re always indoors, maintain the daily habit of wearing sunscreen. Many indoor lights can cause skin damage just as much as the sun. Sunscreen is your best friend in overall skin protection.”

4. Myth: Those with darker complexion don’t need sunscreen (or as much of it).

Fact: Having more melanin does prevent some UV damage, but it doesn’t protect from all UV rays.

Dr. Yadav confirms that “at most, the skin of people of color have a build-in sun protection factor of 13”. It’s usually recommended to apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 multiple times throughout the day, so SPF 13 isn’t enough for sufficient protection. Dr. Yadav added that this myth is harmful to communities of people of color, as skin cancer goes undetected in this population often. “We all have skin- and the sun doesn’t discriminate.”

Final Thoughts

When encountering sun safety information online, always speak with your medical provider to determine the appropriate care for you. Sun protection is an essential part of overall health and wellness, and can also prevent premature signs of aging.

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