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Hot truths about sunscreens you need to know

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Come summer, one thinks of trips to the beach to cool off, sipping on mint coolers by the poolside and trusty shades to beat the heat, but the season also brings a bitter reality our way that needs to be safeguarded against - the harsh sun rays grazing into our skin!

To avoid being roasted in summer and protect the epidermis, most people resort to the trusty sunscreen. But how many of us actually know what we need to caution against when opting for a sun block? We burst the sunscreen myth bubble and give you hot truths about sun blocks to help protect your skin against the harsh sun rays this summer!

Myth 1: The use of any type of sun block will protect you from skin cancer

False. The FDA guidelines suggest that one should use a sun block that protects against both types of UV rays that are harmful for the skin - UVA and UVB. Moreover, it's the UVA rays that are able to penetrate into the skin deeper and are the ones responsible for causing wrinkles, sagging and leathering of skin. Not all sunscreens protect against both these UV rays so pick one that reads "Broad Spectrum SPF" and blocks both rays.

Myth 2: The higher the SPF the more protected I am?

Partially true. Higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of how effective the sunscreen is in blocking out UV rays. Sun blocks that have an SPF of over 50 are believed to provide ample protection from UV rays. However, according to the American Melanoma Foundation, a sun block that has SPF 2 blocks close to 50 percent of the UV rays, SPF 15 blocks 93 percent and SPF 34 blocks 97 percent. Beyond this, however, the FDA says that not much of an apparent difference exists in the standard of the product.

Myth 3: Is there only one type of sun block?

False. Basically, two types of sun blocks exist and these are the physical and chemical kind. Zinc oxide (which you often see sports people apply on their face) and Titanium dioxide fall in the physical category, whereas oxybenzone falls in the chemical category.

These physical kind helps scatter or block the sun's rays, whereas the chemical option is instrumental in bringing about a chemical reaction which prevents skin damage from UV rays.

Myth 4. Do waterproof sunscreens really work?

There is no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen, only a marketing ploy. Shocked? Per the FDA, the notion of a waterproof sunscreen does not exist. Sun blocks are not waterproof but water resistant - a subtle difference but a difference nevertheless. A company which is promoting its product as having this quality can only market it as being water resistant.

Myth 5. Sunscreens can fuel Vitamin D deficiency?

According to research, sun blocks may decrease the production of Vitamin D in the skin; however, they are not responsible for deficiencies.

Myth 6. I need not apply the sunblock more than once.

False. If you're out in the sun for a reasonable period it is advisable that you reapply the sunscreen every 40 to 80 minutes as the initial application may not last or be that effective.

The Skin Cancer Foundation says that nearly 3.5 million people in over 2 million are diagnosed with Skin Cancer every year. Alarmingly, it is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.

To keep yourself safe from sun strokes make sure you keep yourself dehydrated, avoid getting sunburn by applying sun block liberally, as well as avoid exposure to the sun for a long period. Try to wear protective headwear and clothing. Also hold back chemical peels and laser treatments till summer is here.

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