Sun Myths – Questions & Answers

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I don’t need any protection when the sky is cloudy

Not true. Clouds filter out UV-B (sunburn rays) but allow 65% UV-A rays to go through. UV-A rays are of a longer wavelength and can penetrate clouds and glass. You may not feel hot but you can get sun-damage on a cloudy day and while driving in a car. Protection is necessary as long as it it bright, even when you are inside a car.

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I have pigmented skin and don’t burn easily so I don’t need any sun-portection

Not true. You can develop uneven pigmentation, skin cancers and other signs of sun-damage even though you don’t get sunburnt.

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Sun-tanning protects the skin against sun-damage

This cannot be further from the truth. Tanned skin is already sun damaged. The same applies to tanning booths.

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I do not need to apply sunscreens since I spend most of the time indoors

Most likely, you will be going in and out of buildings and cars so you are still intermittently exposed to the sun. Studies have shown that incidental exposure to the sun can produce sun-damage. You may also be working near windows, which allow UV-A rays to get through. Additionally, you may need to go out unexpectedly and sunscreens need to be applied at least 30 minutes beforehand to be effective. You should, therefore, use sunscreens routinely.

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Using sunscreens is sufficient

Not so. Sunscreens filter some, not all UV rays. Furthermore, their protection wears off after 1-2 hours. Physical protection such as use of wide-brimmed hats, umbrellas and sunglasses are still useful. Common sense measures such as not going out between 10am and 3pm are still necessary.

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I am protected when I’m inside a car

Windscreen and window glass filter out UV-B rays but allow UV-A rays through. UV-A rays are the main cause of photo-aging (sun induced aging) and play a major role in causing skin cancers. We should still use sunscreens inside the car.

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