Myths abound regarding how, when and where to use sunscreen. Medical News Today, last July, shed some light on the right information.

The American Academy of Dermatology estimates a staggering 9,500 Americans are diagnosed daily with skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that one person dies from melanoma every hour. Smart measures are crucial to protect sun-exposed skin.

However, myths abound regarding how, when and where to use sunscreen. Medical News Today, last July, shed some light on the right information. Here are four myths, busted:

1) Sunscreen is not necessary on cloudy days: Wrong. “The truth is that any time the body is exposed to light from the sun, it is exposed to UV rays, even if it is an overcast day.”

2) A body cannot absorb necessary vitamin D if covered in sunscreen: In theory, yes, but sunlight penetrates through clothing, and sunscreen diminishes in effectiveness over time and allows absorption of vitamin D. Plus, a body benefits from vitamin D if out in sunlight just five to 30 minutes daily.

3) People with dark skin do not need sunscreen: Wrong. While darker skin is less susceptible to sunburn as lighter skin, having darker skin does not protect against skin cancer.

4) All sunscreens are the same and only need to be applied once daily: Wrong on both counts. Check ingredients and read reviews before purchasing a sun-protection product. Look for a full-spectrum sunscreen, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recommends regularly (at least every two to four hours) applying a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

Also, some believe that sunscreen application is not necessary in higher, cooler elevations. Yet, ultraviolet exposure actually increases with elevation. Don’t let the cool mountain air fool you. A body can even become sunburned while cooling off in water.

Medical News Today advises not only applying sunscreen to all areas exposed to sunlight, but to wear a hat. The Skin Cancer Foundation lists “seek the shade” as a top skin cancer prevention guideline.

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