Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer. While we need healthy amount of sun exposure for vitamin D, too much exposure to direct sunlight is dangerous. There are two types of UV rays: A and B. While ultraviolet A rays have longer wavelength and are linked with skin aging, ultraviolet B rays have shorter wavelength and are linked with skin burning; prolonged exposure to both these radiations can lead to a higher risk of skin cancer. Alongside damage to the skin, these rays can also contribute to cataract or macular degeneration.
Sunscreen is one of the best-known ways to protect your skin from damage. The active ingredient in sunscreen is usually titanium oxide or zinc oxide that helps in deflecting the sun’s rays. Here are some common misconceptions about sunscreens:
- You do not need to apply sunscreen in winters: False! While you might see very little of the sun’s rays in winters, the radiations from the sun are still around you and can damage your skin. Moreover, snow reflects as much as 80 percentage of the sun’s rays which is way more than water or sand according to World Health Organization. Hence, it is important to apply sunscreen year-round.
- Sunscreen causes cancer: Also, not true. Any ingredient prior to its use in the sunscreen has to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. There is no medical evidence that sunscreen causes cancer. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology alongside other experts suggest the usage of sunscreen to prevent sun damage.
- You don’t need to reapply your sunscreen if its labelled waterproof: Firstly, there is no sunscreen that is considered water or sweat proof and are not allowed to be advertised as so according to National Foundation of Cancer Research. Hence, you should re-apply your sunscreen if you plan on spending an entire day out in the sun.
- Should you really wear sunscreen under your mask? Short answer is yes, you should. The protection provided by masks is entirely dependent on the quality of the material of your masks and even the colors of it and they cannot be considered as substitutes to sunscreen.
It is always a good Idea to have a pleasant day out in the sun but be sure to have your protective gear on. Always remember to carry your hat, a pair of sunglasses, and lastly, a sunscreen.