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Summer is nearly here, and already we’re enjoying warmer temperatures and sunshine here in the Tri-Cities. With the great weather comes the risk of sun-related injuries and illnesses. Below are some common ‘myths’ about sunburns that may help you plan for safer outdoor activities.

  1. Only fair-skinned people get sunburned: While fair-skinned individuals may be more susceptible to sunburn due to lower levels of melanin, anyone can get sunburned regardless of skin tone. People with darker skin may not show the redness associated with sunburn as prominently. However, they can still experience skin damage and an increased risk of skin cancer from UV exposure.
  2. Sunburn only happens on sunny days: UV radiation from the sun can penetrate clouds and cause sunburn even on cloudy or overcast days. It’s essential to wear sunscreen and take sun protection measures even when it’s not sunny.
  3. You can’t get sunburned through glass: While glass can block UVB rays (which cause sunburn), it doesn’t necessarily block UVA rays, which can penetrate glass and cause skin damage. If you’re not adequately protected, you can still get sunburned while sitting near a window or driving in a car.
  4. Sunscreen with a high SPF provides complete protection: While sunscreens with higher SPF values offer excellent protection against UVB rays, no sunscreen can provide 100% protection. Additionally, people often need to apply more sunscreen or reapply it frequently enough to get the complete SPF protection listed on the bottle.
  5. Once you get a base tan, you won’t get sunburned. While having a base tan may offer some degree of protection against sunburn, more is needed to prevent it entirely. Any change in skin color from UV exposure indicates skin damage and continued exposure without proper protection increases the risk of skin cancer.
  6. Sunburns do not only affect the skin’s surface. They can penetrate deeper layers of the skin and cause long-term damage, including premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer. Sunburn is not just a temporary irritation; it’s a sign of skin damage that can have lasting effects.
  7. Sunburns are harmless as long as they don’t blister: While severe sunburns that blister can indicate significant skin damage and increase the risk of infection, even mild sunburns can lead to skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer over time. It’s essential to take all sunburns seriously and take steps to protect your skin from further damage.

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