Melanoma, or skin cancer, is an incredibly prevalent condition that most people are really misinformed about. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, when it comes to melanoma, there are more new cases of skin cancer each year than the combined cases of cancers of the prostate, colon, breast, and lung. In fact, in the US, close to 5 million people get treated for skin cancer. Melanoma is not only serious, but sadly very common as well. There are precautions you can take to help reduce your chances of melanoma, but unfortunately a lot of the facts get confused with fiction. Below Vine Vera dispels the most frequent myths surrounding melanoma.
Myth 1 – Tanning salons are much safer than real sun damage because the UV level is controlled.
This is absolutely not true. Though the UV level is controlled in tanning booths, it is an incredibly high dose. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that people who undergo tanning procedures frequently using the help of high-pressure sunlamps could end up receiving 12 times the annual UVA dose than they would otherwise receive from sun exposure. Not only do tanning beds use UVA rays, they also use UVB. The safest method of tanning is to use a self-tanning product. A natural solution is to brew black tea, allow it to cool and spray it on your body.
Myth 2 – The most damaging sun exposure occurs by the age of 18.
It is imperative that children receive protection from the sun and that they continue to process when they are old enough to head to the beach on their own. The fact is that just under 25% of your sun exposure is reached by age 18, which means that it becomes increasingly necessary to take sun protection measures.
Myth 3 – Applying sunscreen once a day before going out is okay.
Experts recommend that you use sunscreen each and every time you are going to be exposed to the sun. But their advice doesn’t stop there. Skin care experts and dermatologists suggest that you reapply your sunscreen every two hours and after being immersed in water.
Myth 4 – If you have a base tan you can’t get a sunburn.
Nope. In fact, even though you probably love the bronze glow that comes with a tan, the truth is that any tan at all is indicative of sun damage. Your skin uses a tan to try and help protect itself from further UV damage, but unfortunately your skin’s reaction to UV with your DNA is not sufficient to provide sun protection. In fact, the repair that your skin tries may actually cause genes to mutate increasing the risk of skin cancer.
Myth 5 – A cloudy day at the beach means you can go sunscreen free.
This is why skin experts and dermatologists recommend that you wear sunscreen every day of the year, including winter. Up to 80% of the sun’s rays break through clouds, causing the same skin damage that occurs on the sunniest of days.
Knowing what is and isn’t true is the first step to properly protecting yourself from melanoma. Grab your sunscreen and remember to reapply on your trips to the pool.