To help raise awareness about Melanoma Awareness month, it’s important to address a few myths vs. facts regarding skin cancer.
Myth: Skin cancer only happens to people over age 40.
Fact: The incidence of melanoma in children, teens and young adults is growing every year. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young Americans aged 25 to 29. It is the number one cause of cancer death among 15 to 20 year olds.
Myth: Most people believe that tan skin “looks healthier” than pale skin.
Fact: 83% of teens believe they look better with a tan, and 43% admitted to lying out in the sun. One-third “always” use sunscreen; nearly the same number “never” use sunscreen. There is NO SAFE TAN. Injury to your skin barrier increases production of pigment cells to help increase protection. Tanned skin is actually injured skin.
Myth: Tanning beds are safer than the sun.
Fact: 95% of tanning customers receive more than the recommended dose of UV radiation. Tanning beds can expose an individual to 4 times the amount of UVA and 2 times the amount of UVB as compared to a similar period of actual sun exposure.
Myth: You only need sunscreen on sunny summer days.
Fact: UVA rays penetrate through clouds and windows, and reflect off concrete, asphalt, snow and grass –ALL YEAR round!
Myth: “I don’t need to wear sunscreen if I am naturally tan.”
Fact: ALL COLORS OF SKIN should be using sunscreen. When melanoma is discovered on darker skin, it is more advanced than on lighter skin. Melanoma occurs 25 times more often in lighter races.
Myth: Wearing sunscreen causes vitamin D deficiency.
Fact: The average American only applies about 25% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. The human body needs only 20 minutes of noontime exposure a day to make 1000 IUs of vitamin D. Our bodies synthesize vitamin D from food and other supplements the same as vitamin D from the sun. If you are worried about “getting enough” vitamin D, it is super simple to increase your daily oral vitamin D supplements.