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With summer in full swing, now's a good time to revisit a few commonly held sun safety myths and sort fact from fiction:

1.       *I don't need sunscreen on cloudy days*  : Up to 80% of both UVA and UVB rays penetrate through on cloudy days, leaving you vulnerable to sun damage in the form of burns, cancer, dark spots and premature aging.  A stable, broad-spectrum sunscreen should be used every day, summer or winter, rain or shine.

2.       *I have dark skin so I am naturally protected from the sun*  :  Although darker skin is less likely to get sunburned, it is not immune to developing skin cancer. In fact, even though skin cancer is less common amongst darker skinned individuals, when it does occur, it is typically more aggressive and diagnosed later, leading to more deaths.  La Roche Posay has just introduced Anthelios Lightweight Lotion SPF 30 and SPF 60 that are non-greasy, easily absorbed and have a dry touch finish. It leaves no white marks, even on dark skin. No excuse for not applying your sunscreen now!

3.       *I won't burn if I get a little bit tanned first*  : First off, there is no such thing as a safe tan.  The skin darkens as a response to UV damage in an attempt to repair and protect.  Having a "little" tan provides no protection for further damage, whether it be sunburn, skin cancer or premature aging.

4.       *I never burned when I was a kid, so I won't burn now* : The sad truth is that the sun is much stronger now than when we were kids. With so much sun safety information and effective sunscreens available now, there's no excuse for sunburns anymore. And [Link Removed]  to start using sunscreen, whatever your age.

5.       *I'll be wearing long sleeves and long pants so I can skip the sunscreen*  :  Specially made sun protective clothing are a great option for the summer.  The UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating system measures the amount of UV protection that the fabric provides.  For instance, a top with a UPF of 50 only allows 1/50th of UV radiation to pass through and reach your skin.  However, most typical summer outfits made of white cotton or linen offer a UPF rating of only 5, thus allowing 20% of the UV rays to reach the skin.  It's the equivalent of wearing a sunscreen of only SPF 7.  Even with sun protective clothing, many parts of our body, like the face and hands, are still exposed to the sun, so keep that sunscreen close by.

Be sun smart, be sun safe and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
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