Aug 30, 2018 10:00 AM

Author: Allison Elmer, CPH, Cancer Information Specialist


Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, no matter your skin color or type. Know the myths and facts about sun safety and protect your skin from the sun at every age.

Myth: Getting a base tan helps protect my skin from the sun.

Fact: Any color change to your skin is sun damage. A tan means your skin cells are damaged. Damaged skin cells lead to an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Sun damage does not always look like a sunburn or peeling skin.

Myth: I don’t need to wear sunscreen when it’s cloudy.

Fact: You can get sun damage even when it’s cloudy. The ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause damage to your skin reach you through the clouds. Depending on the type of cloud, UV rays can even be magnified. Practice sun safety if you are going to be outdoors, even on cloudy days.

tips for sun safety

Myth: Tanning beds are a safer way to get a tan.

Fact: Tanning beds expose you to harmful UV rays. Often this type of UV light is stronger and can cause more damage in less time than UV rays from the sun. Learn to love your natural skin color and avoid tanning beds.

Myth: You can’t get sun damage through glass.

Fact: Glass does not filter out all UV rays, so your skin can still get damaged. That’s why experts recommend you wear sunscreen every day, not just on the days you are outside.

Myth: My eyes can’t get sun damaged.

Fact: Damage to the eyes from sun is called photokeratitis, and we see a lot of it here in Utah. Wear sunglasses or ski goggles that have 100% UV protection to prevent damage to your eyes.

Myth: It’s winter, so I can’t get sunburned.

Fact: Temperature does not affect the strength of UV rays. This winter, practice sun safety when you go skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, or snow-shoeing. UV rays are stronger at higher elevations and reflect off snow, so we need to be especially careful in Utah.

Remember, a tan is your skin’s reaction to UV damage. There’s no such thing as a safe, healthy tan.

Learn more about ways to protect your skin from the sun.


Allison Elmer, CPH, Cancer Information Specialist

The G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center
cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu

melanoma skin cancer sun safety cancer prevention cancer learning center

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