Makeup & nails
Jul 5, 2013

Sunscreen facts and myths

By: Kathryn Hudson

Jean Claude Lussier Author: Elle Canada Credits: Jean Claude Lussier

Makeup & nails
Jul 5, 2013

Sunscreen facts and myths

By: Kathryn Hudson
The truth about sunscreen, vitamin D and skin cancer facts.

Sunscreen myth When I was a kid, I could spend the whole day in the sun without burning so I’ll be fine.

Sunscreen facts “People tend to think of the sun as just sitting up in the sky and not changing very much,” says NASA scientist Drew Schindell. “But the sun is brighter now than any time in the past four centuries. When the sun is more active, it’s putting out more UV rays.”


Sunscreen myth I need a base tan before I go on vacation so I don’t burn.

Sunscreen facts “There is no such thing as a base tan,” says Dr. Doris Day, clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center. “If you don’t want to get a sunburn on vacation, take a siesta in the middle of the day and have some fun,” she says with a laugh. “But it’s not the time to be out in UV rays.”

Sunscreen myth A tan will make me feel sexier.

Sunscreen facts “One of the dirty secrets is that as sun damages the skin, it often alters sensation,” says Dr. Richard Fried, clinical director of Yardley Dermatology in Morrisville, Pa. “The skin gets very sensitive and very uncomfortable. Patients say that when they are touched, it just doesn’t feel right. Sun damage actually interferes with our ability to feel affection.”

SHOP: 50 sunscreens

Sunscreen myth
I need to get 15 minutes of sun so that I get enough vitamin D.

Sunscreen facts “I don’t know how we came up with that!” shouts Day. “The problem is that if you’re very fair, you’ll fry. If you have darker skin, 15 minutes will do nothing. It’s a random number that makes no sense. Incidental sun exposure is more than enough for most people. If you think you’re vitamin D deficient, get a blood test. Vitamin D is not an excuse to get a tan.”

More sun stats on the next page ... 0-0-sunscreen-facts-and-myths-pa.jpg Sunscreen myth Skin cancer is for old people.

Sunscreen facts
“I’m seeing skin cancer in patients in their 20s,” says Day. “This is not an old person’s problem; this is a young person’s problem. Patients come in after a burn, looking for atonement.” Not worried about cancer? Try vanity. “Your skin has the ability to repair no matter how old you are. If you start today, just by using sunscreen alone, all those other products we spend so much money on will work so much better.”

Scary sun stats
- One in every four Canadians does not use sunscreen.

- Almost 50 percent of canadians think it’s important to get a base tan before a vacation.

- Over 60 percent of Canadians think they look healthier with a tan.

Read more:
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Glow fakers: The best products for dewy, glowing skin
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Sunscreen facts and myths