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Skin care truths of Summer

There are many myths and truths about summer skincare. From the myths about tanning beds and their safety to the effects of sunless tanners, summer is a time to be extra vigilant about exposure to the sun’s UV rays and to consider good nutrition and treatments to reverse signs of aging.

Below are some of the truths about summer skin care backed up by scientific study and explanation.

TRUTH #1: Tanning beds claim to be safe because they emit UVA rays that don’t burn your skin, but these ultraviolet rays do cause wrinkles and skin cancer.

BACKGROUND: Tanning bed users younger than 35 years old increase their risk of getting melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, by 75%.

If you want to look like you've been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product or bronzer.

TRUTH #2: Skin becomes loose, wrinkled, and leathery much earlier with unprotected exposure to sunlight.

BACKGROUND: Scientific studies have shown that repeated UV exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen. The sun's rays destroy the skin’s elastin and, thus, make the skin less elastic and more wrinkly.

TRUTH #3:Treatment for sun damaged skin includes chemical peels, lasers, and topical creams. BACKGROUND:Chemical peels remove the damaged skin in favor of the newer, younger skin underneath. Laser treatment involves the use of specific light beams to remove sun-damaged skin (wrinkles, sun spots).

10 minutes of mid-day sun exposure produces ample Vitamin D for the day.

BACKGROUND: A diet rich in nutrients is a healthier way to get Vitamin D.

TRUTH #5: Combination SPF/makeup/moisturizers don’t provide enough UV protection for outdoor activity (particularly in the Summer).

BACKGROUND: Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen (a marble’s size for the face and a golf ball amount for the body) to render themselves protected with the SPF number on the bottle’s label.

Frequent sunscreen application is needed (at least every two hours if outside). Waterproof sunscreen will protect you in the water, but because some will rub off, it must be reapplied.

TRUTH #6: Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

BACKGROUND: People with fair skin (and therefore less skin pigmentation to protect against sunburn) are at greater risk for skin cancer. In addition, those who live closer to the equator or at higher elevations are at higher risk of developing skin cancer due to increased ultraviolet light exposure. If you go out in the sun, generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to all exposed skin. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

TRUTH #7: Those with sensitive skin should look for physical (non-chemical) sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

BACKGROUND: These non-chemical-containing sunscreens do not irritate the skin and also have a wide range of sun protection (against UVA and UVB rays).

TRUTH #8:Skin cancer occurs in patients with dark skin as well as pale skin, so a good tan doesn’t protect you from skin cancer.

BACKGROUND: The 3 most common types of skin cancer (basal cell, squamous cell, melanoma) are related to cumulative sun exposure. Overexposure to the sun’s rays damages the skin’s DNA (the basic building blocks that form the skin). Since the primary cause of melanoma is overexposure to the sun’s UV rays, minimizing the time you spend in the sun is the best way to prevent it.

TRUTH #9: A single blistering sunburn in childhood can exponentially increase the likelihood of melanoma later in life.

BACKGROUND:Early detection is vital for prevention of pre-cancerous lesions developing into melanoma, so if you detect an unusual mole or other skin lesion, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early. People with a close family member who has developed melanoma are more at risk to develop the disease.

TRUTH #10: Photoaging is the term dermatologists use to describe skin aging caused by exposure to the sun’s rays.

BACKGROUND: The amount of photoaging that develops depends on a person’s skin color and his/her history of long-term or intense sun exposure. Without protection from the sun’s rays, just a few minutes of exposure each day over the years can cause noticeable (aging) changes to the skin.

Keep in mind, even as summer comes to a close, it is always important to be mindful of the damage of UV rays. In the case of aging and especially if you discover any unusual spots or lesions, seek out the care of a professional , board-certified dermatologist.