I’ll admit that I love being tan. I feel more confident and just like the way I look when I’m tan. However, after my skin cancer scare a while back, I’m much more about sun safety than getting a good glow. I may not like the way I look personally when I’m pale, but I certainly like it better than having melanoma. I used to believe that getting a base tan was good for you and that I didn’t need sunscreen if I never burned. I was so wrong.
I know that no one wants to wear sunscreen or have to feel burdened to reapply it, but its purpose is to protect you from something really harmful. You might think that skipping SPF everyday is no big deal, but it IS a big deal. You should wear SPF everyday! It’s going to keep your skin protected and looking young. You’re getting a lot of damage just from walking around sans SPF, but if you’re tanning, you’re getting a lot more damage. You need to stop believing these myths about tanning and sunscreen right now:
Myth: Tanning Is A Good Source Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is good for you, and everyone needs it. It makes you feel happy, however, tanning doesn't provide nearly enough vitamin D to make a legitimate difference. And your body has a cap on how much vitamin D it produces from exposure to the sun. If you need more vitamin D, take a supplement or eat more foods that contain it.
Myth: Tanning Clears Up Acne
You might feel like your skin looks amazing when you get back from the beach after you have a tan. Sorry, but this will be short-lived. Tanning dries out your skin, which in turn can dry up any blemishes. But when your skin starts to heal and repair itself, your skin can start breaking out more after a tan. Protecting your skin is the best way to prevent breakouts.
Myth: You Don't Need SPF If It's Cloudy
One of my friends didn't use sunscreen on spring break because it was cloudy, and she was the color of a lobster the next day. Why? Because up to 80% of ultraviolet rays can still travel through clouds!
Myth: You Don't Need To Reapply SPF
You can't just slap on some SPF in the morning and call it a day. When you're in the sun for long periods of time, your SPF becomes less effective because it's being worn down by ultraviolet rays. Reapplying is super important! It's recommended that you reapply 30 minutes before going out in the sun, every two hours after that and after every time you go in the water.
Myth: You Can't Get Skin Cancer If You're Young
You may think that skin cancer is something that only affects older people, and you are very wrong if you think that. Melanoma is actually the second most common form of cancer from people 15-29 years old.
Myth: Tanning Beds Are Safer Than Going Outside
Oh boy. Sadly, you'd be surprised how often I still hear this. Tanning beds are in no way, shape or form safer than going outside in the sun. You are literally trapping yourself in a box of UV rays and putting them in direct contact with your skin. Tanning beds are widely believed to be more dangerous than being exposed to natural sunlight.
Myth: The Higher The SPF, The Better
Guess what? SPFs above 50 don't really offer you more protection. Many countries actually don't allow SPF to be labeled over 50 because of this. Basically, higher SPF numbers reflect the amount of protection against UVB rays, which are the ones that make you burn. SPF 50 protects against 98% of UVB rays, and anything above that doesn't increase your protection. It's science. Higher SPFs also don't increase your protection from UVA rays, which are responsible for aging and are more linked to skin cancer. Have you noticed that SPFs above 50 are way more expensive? It's because you think you're paying for more protection, but you're really not. It's a marketing ploy. Your best bet is to find an SPF between 30 and 50 that protects you from UVA and UVB rays.
Myth: A Base Tan Will Protect You
I hear people say they have to get a base tan before summer or before heading to the beach all.the.time. Do you know what a tan is? It's your body trying to repair skin damage. Damaging your skin before you go damage it some more doesn't protect it.
Did you believe any of these tanning myths? Will these stop you from tanning? Tell us in the comments!