Summer wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for three things – mosquitoes, mediocre holidays, and the sun. Then again, the lack of a star to orbit around would present some unprecedented issues with life on earth. So, forced to cope, every summer countless people make various mistakes when it comes to protecting themselves from the sun. Some of these blunders are easy to spot – others not so much.
From experience I can tell you that a lot of guys just say ‘screw it’ to protecting their skin from the sun. Many of us leave the sunscreen behind, pay little mind to the sun, and some of us end up paying for it later. Women, on the other hand, are much more conscious of the terror lurking in the sky. Women tend to take numerous measures to insure their skin isn’t dealt damage from the sun. Yet both make several mistakes and trust various myths.
One of the most prevalent falsehoods is rooted deeply in confusion over the sun itself. Many men and women believe that clouds that obscure the sun double as sunscreen. Clouds are incapable of blocking the UV rays that damage the skin. They provide a false blanket that appears to offer protection when in actuality they do more to shield your eyes than skin. The rule of thumb is this- ‘where there is sunlight, there is sunburn’.
Among the most classic of sun-protection myths involves the concept of a ‘base tan’. Many women flock to tanning beds every year for one of two reasons. A.) For appearance purposes. B.) They believe an artificial tan will protect them against the sun. Unfortunately, just because you get yourself tanned, this change in skin tone does little to block out damaging UV rays. It’s unfortunate that many women fall prey to this ‘old wives’ tale’ and come home sun-burnt because of it.
So an artificial tan won’t work, right? What about a natural tan? If your skin is naturally a darker shade than most, you might be convinced you are immune to the sun’s damaging properties. Sorry to say that this simply isn’t the case. The sun, no entity of prejudice, impacts people of all races, ethnicities, and colors. This myth exists predominately because people with darker skin are less likely to show signs of sun-burnt skin. Naturally this insinuates a certain immunity that doesn’t exist. No matter what color of the rainbow you are, you still need sunscreen.
For many the beach is where this whole issue comes up. Many women find themselves tossing their money to so-called ‘waterproof’ sunscreen. They apply a healthy dose of waterproof sunscreen to their skin and don’t bother with doing so again during a day of swimming and lounging on the beach. The problem here is that no sunscreen is 100% waterproof- what you are actually paying for is water resilience. So while it is resistant to the effects of water, it will gradually wash away and you will have to apply a supplementary layer if you want to protect your skin.
A whole slew of sun-protection myths come from food origins. It is a common belief that eating certain foods can double as a pseudo-sunscreen of sorts. While there is some factual credit to this notion, it is not what it is perceived to be. It isn’t simply that an apple or a glass of milk will protect you against the sun- certain foods and beverages have regenerative and medicinal properties that apply to your skin. They won’t block UV rays- they’ll help to undo some of the damage done as well as help to build a stronger epidermis.
Skin Care: Beyond The Basics By Mark Lees
Urban Legends, Myths, & Flat-Out Lies By Steven Sanders