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Ten Common Misconceptions About Sunscreen and the Sun

4 months ago

Even though the evidence linking sun exposure and skin cancer is substantial, most people do not wear sunscreen every day. Sunscreen can protect your skin from early aging, dark spots and skin cancers and is readily available at most pharmacies and grocery stores. Once sun damage sets in, it is nearly impossible to treat. Sunspots, wrinkles and other sun-related skin issues are usually permanent once they appear. Many myths surround sunscreen and when or how you should apply it. Prevention is your best bet when it comes to shielding your skin from the sun's damaging UV rays.

Myth 1: I Can't Get Sunburned During the Winter

Any time the sun is up and you are outside, you are exposing your skin to harmful UV radiation. Another common misconception is that if it's cloudy outside, it's impossible to get sunburned. However, up to 80% of the sun's rays can still penetrate your skin, even on an overcast day. In addition, snow and water both reflect the sun, which also exposes you to UV rays, although indirectly. Regardless of season, it's always important to apply sunscreen.

Myth 2: Sunscreen Cannot Expire

Before reaching into the medicine cabinet for that half-used old sunscreen bottle, you may want to check the expiration date. All sunscreen can expire, and the FDA requires sunscreen to have an expiration date printed on the bottle. While most SPF products have a shelf life of three years, some may expire more quickly than others. If you can't see a clearly printed expiration date on your bottle and don't remember when you purchased it, it's best to toss it and pick up another one.


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