What do you really know about UV radiation from the sun's rays? Here are some things you may assume, and the facts that have been uncovered over years of study:
Myth: When the sky is overcast, I am not in danger from UV radiation.
Fact: While the UV radiation level may be lower than when it is sunny, you are still exposed to UV radiation and need to wear sunscreen. We tend to forget the sunscreen and stay out longer when the conditions are overcast.
Myth: I don't need sunscreen protection when I am in the shade all day.
Fact: Approximately 50% of our UV radiation exposure happens when we are in the shade. UV rays are reflected from nearby ground and water, exposing us to a reduced amount of radiation, but exposing us nevertheless.
Myth: I don't need sunscreen in the winter when there is snow on the ground.
Fact: You may need MORE sunscreen when there is snow present! According to recent studies, "90 percent of the sun's rays reflect off of the snow, but with every 1,000 feet of elevation the UV radiation intensity increases by 5 percent. Accordingly, when people ski and snowboard at 9,000 feet in elevation, they are exposed to 45 percent more UV radiation than when they're at sea level."* This also applies to people who may not ski but are living in these snowy conditions or at higher elevations.
*Vail Daily News, Vail, CO March 8, 2011
Myth: Getting a tan is good for my skin.
Fact: While your skin needs the Vitamin D that the sun's rays provide, sun exposure is responsible for 80-90% of the skin's aging and can cause skin cancer when exposure is extended. It destroys collagen in the skin and causes free radical damage to DNA in the skin cells. Antioxidants are natural free-radical fighters and your sunscreen will be most effective if it contains a strong antioxidant presence, such as African Redbush Tea.
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