Why Is Wearing Sunscreen More Important Now?

Hand,Of,A,Man,Applying,Cream,Lotion,On,Arms,To

A survey from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) found that proper sun protection is a bigger priority to 82% of Americans than it was five years ago. But, interestingly, the AAD also found that most Americans don’t fully understand what that entails.

Is wearing sunscreen more important now than in previous years, and how can we maximize its benefits? Let’s explore some common sun protection myths and facts to help you stay healthy for years to come.

Is wearing sunscreen more important now than in the past?

It’s true: protecting yourself from the sun properly is more crucial now than ever.

Scientific research shows that the ozone layer, our planet’s natural shield against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, has been thinning for the past two decades. This natural barrier’s depletion means we’re getting exposed to an increasing number of UV rays.

While most Americans don’t spend much time outdoors, the heightened risks of sun damage are still real and potentially severe, including:

  • Sunburns
  • Premature aging
  • Cataracts and other eye damage
  • Immune system suppression
  • Skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in America

The sun is a major source of vitamin D, which is essential for overall health. But it’s crucial to balance the benefits and risks of sun exposure.

Americans’ perceptions and misunderstandings about sun protection

The AAD’s survey revealed a concerning gap in our understanding of sun protection. Despite the 82% of Americans who recognize sun safety’s importance, the survey found that our day-to-day practices tell a different story.

While 62% of Americans gave themselves a “good grade” on their sun protection efforts, 63% reported getting a tan, and 33% experienced sunburns–two tell-tale signs of sun damage.

There’s also some confusion around SPF. 67% of survey respondents believe SPF 30 offers twice the protection of SPF 15–but in reality, the difference is much smaller.

Many Americans also simply forget to use sun protection, and 65% admitted to occasionally skipping sunscreen reapplication.

Related:   5 Building Blocks To A Healthy Lifestyle

Addressing misconceptions and adopting regular, healthy habits is crucial for our health. So, next, let’s examine some of the most common sun protection myths and facts.

Sunscreen myths and facts

Myth 1: Higher SPF guarantees sunburn protection

Fact: While high SPF sunscreens do provide more protection, none shield you from UV rays completely.

And remember, SPF 30 doesn’t block twice as many UV rays as SPF 15. The amount of protection provided only increases in small amounts.

For instance:

  • SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks 97% (a 4% difference)
  • SPF 50 only blocks 98% (so, 1% more than SPF 30)

Also, SPF formulas of 50 and higher often contain more synthetic chemicals, which can disrupt hormones in the body, potentially leading to other health problems.

Myth 2: Tanning is healthy

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, a tan is evidence of skin damage.

According to Dr. Mark D. Kaufmann, Fellow and President of the AAD, “There is no such thing as a safe tan.” He says each time you tan or burn, you’re damaging your DNA–and “the more you damage your DNA, the greater your risk of getting skin cancer.”

Myth 3: You only need sunscreen on sunny days

Fact: UV rays can penetrate clouds and cause skin damage, even on overcast days. So, it’s important to make sunscreen a part of your daily routine–regardless of the weather.

And surfaces like sand, water, snow, and even concrete can reflect UV rays, increasing your exposure.

Myth 4: Shade is UV-ray-proof

Fact: While shade provides some sun protection, it doesn’t give you complete coverage.

A study published in JAMA Dermatology found that beach umbrellas actually offer less protection than high-SPF sunscreen.

How to protect yourself from the sun properly

Now that we’ve debunked those sun protection myths, let’s dive into some all-around strategies to keep your skin safe and healthy.

Related:   Food as Medicine: What is a Balanced Diet and Why is it Important?

Use broad-spectrum sunscreen correctly

A common question about sun protection is how much and how often sunscreen should be applied.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: apply roughly one ounce (about one shot glass-worth) of a broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30 on all exposed skin every two hours–and more often if you’re sweating or swimming.

Dress for sun safety

Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a lightweight long-sleeve shirt, wide-brimmed hat, pants, and sunglasses with UV protection.

You can even find clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) label for enhanced defense against both UVA and UVB rays–although this clothing still won’t shield you 100%.

Seek shade

Seek shade when the sun’s at its peak between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.. But remember, it’s only part of a sun safety strategy. Keep reapplying your sunscreen and wear protective clothing for better coverage.

Stay informed

Keep an eye on the daily UV index to gauge the sun’s strength and plan your outdoor time. And be cautious of reflective surfaces like water and sand.

Get regular skin exams

Visit your dermatologist regularly to monitor any changes in your skin. This is key for early skin cancer detection and prevention.

Practicing effective sun protection is more important than ever before. But by clearing up common misconceptions and incorporating the above strategies into your routine, you can enjoy the outdoors while minimizing the risk of sun damage–even with a thinning ozone layer.

When your gut isn’t healthy and happy, the rest of you isn’t either – get your free health guide to learn how to heal your gut with supplements & essential oils.

Click here

References:

New American Academy of Dermatology survey reveals most Americans say sun protection is more important now than five years ago, yet many misunderstand how to protect themselves

Commentary: Sunscreen Compliance with American Academy of Dermatology Recommendations: A 2022 Update and Cross-Sectional Study

Related:   Study Finds Apple And Lettuce Can Remedy Garlic Breath

Sunscreen: a brief walk through history – PMC

Ozone Hole Continues Shrinking in 2022, NASA and NOAA Scientists Say

Basic Ozone Layer Science | US EPA

Environmental effects of ozone depletion, UV radiation and interactions with climate change

Ozone Layer – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

The risks and benefits of sun exposure 2016 – PMC

Health Effects of UV Radiation | US EPA

Insufficient Sun Exposure Has Become a Real Public Health Problem – PMC

Ultraviolet radiation as a risk factor for cataract and macular degeneration

The impact of ultraviolet radiation on skin photoaging — review of in vitro studies – PMC.

UV Radiation and the Skin – PMC

UV-induced immune suppression and photocarcinogenesis: Chemoprevention by dietary botanical agents – PMC

Skin Cancer (Including Melanoma)—Patient Version – NCI.

Comprehensive Review of Ultraviolet Radiation and the Current Status on Sunscreens – PMC

Sunscreen use optimized by two consecutive applications – PMC

The efficacy and safety of sunscreen use for the prevention of skin cancer – PMC

Ensuring the Safety of Sunscreens, and Their Efficacy in Preventing Skin Cancers: Challenges and Controversies for Clinicians, Formulators, and Regulators

Environmental Cues to Ultraviolet Radiation and Personal Sun Protection In Outdoor Winter Recreation – PMC

Ultraviolet Radiation Albedo and Reflectance in Review: The Influence to Ultraviolet Exposure in Occupational Settings – PMC

Types of Shade Vary in Protection Just Like Sunscreens – PMC

Sun Protection by Beach Umbrella vs Sunscreen With a High Sun Protection Factor: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Simple dosage guide for suncreams will help users – PMC.

An Overview of Ultraviolet-Protective Clothing – PMC

Comprehensive Review of Ultraviolet Radiation and the Current Status on Sunscreens – PMC

UV Index | US EPA.

Original research: Prevention versus early detection for long-term control of melanoma and keratinocyte carcinomas: a cost-effectiveness modelling study – PMC

Advances in Early Detection of Melanoma and the Future of At-Home Testing – PMC

Author
Carrie Solomon

Carrie Solomon is a freelance health writer, copywriter, and passionate wellness enthusiast. She’s on a mission to help wellness-focused companies educate, engage, and inspire their audiences to make the world a healthier, happier place. Learn more about her at copybycarrie.com or on LinkedIn.

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Protect Baby’s Delicate Skin Throughout the Summer - Natural Solutions Magazine - dedicated to teach people how to live better
  2. Honey, Don't Forget the Sunscreen! - Alternative Medicine Magazine
  3. Tips for enjoying the great outdoors - Alternative Medicine Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*