7 myths about sun protection

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Do carrots really help against sunburn, or is one protected from sun through the windowpane of the car? Myths and misinformation can sometimes result in serious consequences on your skin.

In our latitudes, there are a few myths and misinformation that have the potential of quickly transforming the soothing sunbathing effects on your skin to serious sunburn or even skin cancer risk exposure. Our dermatologist of the Medical Health Center in Bad Ragaz, Dr Brigitte Bollinger MD, rectifies some myths about sun protection:

1) Pre-tanning helps: Wrong! A study by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety shows that workers, who were exposed to the sun from March, reached only a sun protection level corresponding with a sunscreen protection factor of 1.5. It is now obvious that pre-tanning does not protect against sunburn.

2) When in water, there is no need for sunscreen: Wrong! UV rays penetrate through water also. One meter below the water surface, the UVA radiation is still 75 percent of its original intensity. In addition, the surface of the surrounding water reflects the sun’s radiation, whereby the body parts which are out of the water are particularly exposed to it.

3) In the car one is protected: Wrong! UVA rays are not stopped by window and car glass.

4) The solarium is safe: Wrong! According to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, the skin cancer risk is up to 75 percent in people who visit a solarium regularly before the age of 30.

5) It just depends on the sun protection factor: Wrong! The higher the sun protection factor (SPF), the better the protection. However, the SPF is only a measure of the UVB protection. A good sunscreen, therefore, should also identify and protect against UVA radiation.

6) The use of creams extends the period of protection: Wrong! The use of creams every two hours may possibly compensate losses such as through sweating; however, it does not necessarily extend the protective effect.

7) Sunscreen from inside: Wrong! The effect of sun protection from inside – through vitamins and dietary supplements such as beta-carotene (found in carrots for example) – has not been sufficiently established. Carrots therefore, cannot be considered as a direct replacement of applying sunscreen.

What can you really do to protect against skin damage from sunlight you can find in our article “The sun and your skin – healthy yet dangerous”.

Do you know of any other myths or have questions for our experts, such as – is your home remedy really helpful? Let us know by commenting below.

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