The Misconceptions About Sun Damage & Sunbathing



The ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths of the sun’s rays have a dramatic, destructive aging effect on your skin. There is much evidence that the aging effect of the sun directly causes cellular damage and also produces free radicals, which damage the cell walls and DNA of the skin cells.

Although, the most effective treatment for sun damage is prevention. Unfortunately, sun block alone is not enough. As there are many misconceptions about sunbathing and the way sun damages the skin, it is vital to know the truth from the false.

Common misconceptions :

1. You cannot tan or burn if the weather is cloudy or rainy. This, of course, is completely false. Clouds do filter a small amount of UV light, but not enough to affect damage to the skin. It is certainly possible to tan or burn even in cloudy, overcast weather, particularly without using sunscreen.

2. You cannot burn if you are in the water. This too is false. Water may feel cool to hot skin that has been basking in the sun, but it has no effect on the sun’s burning and damage potential. The heat from the sun is caused by infrared rays, not ultraviolet rays. Swimming and going into the pool or ocean may indeed remove some or a large amount of the sunscreen applied earlier. Hence, it is advisable to used a water-resistant sunscreen product and reapplied when out of the water or about once an hour.

3. Umbrellas or large hats will prevent sun damage. The real truth is that although these are a help, they do not prevent much sun from reaching the fragile skin and certainly do not replace a good sunscreen. They primarily cut down on glare so that the person does not squint as much, helping to prevent worsening of the expression lines. It is a good idea to wear lightweight but sun-resistant clothes, which also help filter light, but ultraviolet rays can burn the skin right through a lightweight shirt.

4. Baby or mineral oil accelerates tanning. This is simply not true. In fact, because these do not contain sunscreen, they may accelerate burning and they do not provide protection against sun damage.

5. Applying moisturizer after sunbathing will prevent peeling. This is completely false. If the skin has burned, it will peel no matter what is done to the skin. Applying moisturizer to well-protected skin may help replace some of the water in the dehydrated, exposed skin, or may lubricate peeling areas, making the skin look better, but it will not stop the sun-damaged skin from peeling.

6. Applying lots of moisturizer will counter the damage the sun causes. False again. Hydrating fluids do help replace some of the water that is also being robbed from the surface cells during sun exposure, but ultraviolet rays has already penetrated right through the dermis, destroying collagen and elastin fibrils. 

7. Wearing sunglasses helps prevent sun damage. True, only if the sunglasses contain UV filters and only if they are worn constantly while out. When purchasing sunglasses, make sure to check if the glasses contain UV filters. The larger the glasses, the more area they will help protect.

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