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Tanning Myths and Facts.
You've probably heard these myths, but here's the truth.

MYTH: Indoor tanning beds safer than tanning in the sun.
FACT: Exposure to all forms of UV rays increases your risk of skin cancer. UV light occurs naturally in sunlight and is associated with suntans and sunburns. In tanning booths and beds, artificial UV lights are used. These lights have effects on the skin that are similar to natural sunlight and they are not considered to be a safer method of tanning. The research on whether indoor tanning is related to melanoma is inconsistent. However, most health-care professionals believe that any unprotected exposure to UV rays increases your risk of skin cancer

MYTH: You can get a sunburn just as quickly on a cloudy day as compared to a sunny day.
FACT: This is generally false. On an overcast day, especially an overcast rainy day, the amount of UV reaching the surface is significantly reduced. Any overcast conditions will reduce UV radiation reaching the surface. However, partly cloudy conditions do NOT reduce the sunburn risk much. People often make the mistake of staying outside longer when there is cloud cover thinking they do not need to use precaution. This increased time can make up for the fact there is less UV radiation reaching the surface. This can lead to a terrible burn.

MYTH: Tanning is healthy because it protects the body from sunburn.
FACT: This myth relies on the idea that the tan is the body’s natural way of preventing UV rays from penetrating into the skin and thus reduces the risk of getting skin cancer. This is not the actual fact as the tan over a white skin offers very, very minimal protection, approximately and a SPF of 4. It is reccomended that everyone protect themselves with a SPF 15 at absolute minimum.

MYTH: Tanning can be kept safe and healthy provided one covers the exposed skin with a sunscreen.
FACT: The simple fact is that sunscreen can only help when used properly and they still are not perfect protection. Any sign of natural tan is skin damage.

MYTH: People with medium to dark skin never burn.
FACT: Although people with medium to darker skin tend to tan more easily than others, they can still get sunburns. They can also suffer from overexposure to UV-light. It is still important for these skin types to use sunscreens and avoid being in the sun longer than they need to be.

MYTH: Wearing sunscreen can cause vitamin D deficiency.
FACT: No studies have shown that sunscreens cause vitamin D deficiency. Also, the amount of vitamin D we need is available in dietary supplements and foods such as salmon and eggs, as well as enriched milk and orange juice.

MYTH: 80% of your sun exposure comes as a child, so it's too late to do anything now.
FACT: We get less than 25% of our total sun exposure by age 18. Actually it is men over the age of 40 that spend the most time outdoors and get the highest yearly doses of UV radiation. Since adult Americans are living longer and spending more leisure time outdoors, preventing ongoing skin damage will continue to be an important part of a healthy lifestyle from childhood to our later years.

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This website exists to spread awareness of skin cancer risks, detection and early prevention. It contains the opinions of one doctor and is not a substitute for the advice or care of your physician.
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