Since Vitamin D is a key component in your health (see Part 1) and getting some sun is necessary for the production of Vitamin D, some people reason that sunscreen must be a bad thing. Of the many contributing factors in Vitamin D deficiencies, sunscreen is not cited. However, sunscreen is a huge component in preventing Melanoma. Known to be the deadliest form of skin cancer, Melanoma is caused by UV radiation, which comes from exposure to sunlight. Along with the many health benefits your backyard swimming pool offers you and your family, it may also put you at greater risk for this terrible disease, making your understanding and application of sunscreen absolutely imperative.
Well-known organizations — including the Environmental Working Group, the American Academy of Dermatology, and the Melanoma Research Foundation – have debunked two often-cited arguments against using sunscreen.
First, the idea that sunscreen inhibits the production of Vitamin D has been proven false. Second, the concept that using sunscreen is unsafe and can actually increase your risks of getting cancer has been clearly debunked, according to this study — among many others. Just as scientific as the disproving of those myths is the fact that 90% of Melanoma cases are caused by UV radiation, which typically comes from the sun. And sunscreen protects your skin from overexposure to ultraviolet light.
So, you might be wondering, is UV exposure helpful or harmful for your body? Can it really be both? The answer is a little tricky. Your skin (which is your body’s largest organ, by the way) needs to be protected from harmful amounts of UV exposure. There are many facets to an effective skin-protection system, and wearing sunscreen is only one of them. (We’ll discuss that in greater detail in a minute.) Other important steps in protecting your skin include avoiding exposure to the most direct rays of the sun (between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and seeking shaded areas, especially if you are outside during those peak times. Two other ways you can protect your body’s surface include protecting your eyes with sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats as well as wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect as much of your skin as possible.
While sunscreen is only one layer of protection against UV radiation, it’s an important one: regular sunscreen use has been shown to decrease incidence of Melanoma by up to 73%. But it’s not just any old sunscreen that will do the job: you want to find one that’s broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher. A sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum” will protect your skin from both types of radiation that can damage your skin: UVA and UVB.
Continue reading with Part 3.
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