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Skin Cancer, Sun Safety, Preventative Tips

Five myths about skin and sun protection

Your skin needs daily protection. Here's what you need to know.

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 28/07/14

Myth No. 1: “T-shirts protect me and my kids from sunburn.”

Thin, light-coloured, loose-weave fabrics don't shield you well from the sun, and once the material gets wet, it loses up to half its UV-blocking power. So a damp white T-shirt is only moderately protective, while a long-sleeved dark denim shirt is essentially a better block.

Myth No. 2: "All sunscreens are the same."

Your safest course is to use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, make it a water-resistant and broad-spectrum sunscreen and reapply at least every two hours.

Myth No. 3: "I won't sunburn today because it's too cloudy or too cold."

Up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays can penetrate clouds, and on a partly cloudy day, the rays bouncing off cloud edges can boost your risk of sunburn. In winter, snow and ice reflect up to 80 percent of UV, so the rays strike you twice.

Myth No. 4: "Tanning beds are fine as long as you don't overdo it."

Indoor tanning sessions are like cigarettes: Just one can increase your risk of cancer. People who use tanning beds are 1.5 times more likely to develop Basal Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer) and 2.5 times more likely to develop Squamous Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer).

Myth No. 5: "A base tan is healthy and good protection from sunburn."

Tanned skin is simply sun-damaged skin, more vulnerable to skin cancer and more likely to develop wrinkles, leathery texture and brown spots. That's why celebrities and fashion models are starting to tone down their tans and show off their natural skin tones.

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