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Restoring back to Your Youthful Skin

Dispelling Sunscreen Myths: Unveiling the Truths About Skin Protection and Sun Damage

By Edge AlexanderPublished about a year ago 3 min read
Image By Kampus Production

Image by Brett Jordan

Recently, a Twitter post went viral, featuring the cheek and neck of a 92-year-old woman. She diligently applied UV protective moisturizers to her face for over 40 years, but neglected to do the same for her neck. It's uncertain if she had any additional procedures done, and the focus here is not on her specific case, but rather the broader benefits of sunscreen. Sunscreen not only protects against skin cancer but also helps prevent wrinkles and brown spots. The harmful UVA rays can lead to solar elastosis, the degeneration of deeper skin tissue.

Image by Stijn Dijkstra

This point is exemplified by an iconic image known as the "asymmetric window case." It showcases a truck driver who spent 28 years behind the wheel, with the side facing the driver's window receiving significantly more UV exposure. Sun exposure can accelerate skin aging due to the penetrating power of ultraviolet rays. While looking older due to natural aging is called chronological aging, looking older as a result of sun exposure is termed photoaging. This type of skin aging is associated with cell damage and an increased risk of developing cancer.

image by Kampus Production

Let's address some questions: How often do you wear sunscreen on your neck or chest? How often do you wear sunscreen in general? Is it only on beach days or during hot sunny weather? If you have darker skin, do you even use sunscreen? It may be time to reconsider your skincare routine and extend it below the neckline. As someone with darker skin, I used to believe I was invincible to the sun's rays, similar to the mythical figure Icarus flying too close to the sun.

Allow me to dispel some myths:

Image By RDNE Stock project

Myth: Darker skin is immune to sun damage. While dark skin provides more natural protection, no skin is impervious to sun damage. Melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin, work differently in different skin types. In pigmented skin, they produce more melanin in larger clumps to absorb the sun's rays and protect the DNA of skin cells. Lighter skin, on the other hand, produces fewer and smaller clumps, making it easier for sunlight to damage the cell's DNA.


Myth: People with dark skin don't need sunscreen. Sunscreen provides added protection against UV rays, regardless of skin color. It increases the skin's natural resistance to sun damage by absorbing and reflecting sunlight. Even if your skin has a higher baseline pigment, wearing sunscreen is comparable to using an umbrella and wearing a raincoat.

Image by Tara Winstead

Myth: Skin cancer doesn't affect people of color. While skin cancer is more common in lighter skin tones, the rate of diagnosis among individuals with darker skin is proportional to their pigment. In fact, people with darker skin tones are more likely to die from skin cancer due to factors such as reduced preventative measures and less frequent skin cancer checks. The late Bob Marley serves as a poignant example, as he developed melanoma under the nail of his big toe, a less common location for melanoma in people with darker skin.

Image by Pixabay

Myth: Sunscreen blocks vitamin D production. We all need vitamin D, and sunlight exposure triggers its production in the skin. High SPF sunscreens primarily filter out UVB radiation, which causes sunburn and skin cancer. However, studies show that daily sunscreen use does not lead to vitamin D insufficiency. Even with high SPF sunscreens, a small percentage of UVB rays still reach the skin, allowing for adequate vitamin D production. After reaching the optimal levels, excess vitamin D is naturally disposed of by the body.

Remember, sunscreen plays a vital role in protecting your skin. So, while I lather myself in sunscreen, I invite you to subscribe for more myth debunking and useful information.

Image Link: Image By Kampus Production

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Edge Alexander

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    Edge AlexanderWritten by Edge Alexander

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