Debunk century-old summer sun myths: tanning, SPF, & UV ray LIES

Kentucky Skin Cancer Center educates for National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – May is National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month. 

The temperatures are pushing 90 degrees this week, and many of you are making outdoor plans – fishing, boating or even  a beach trip.

With summer sunshine comes common misconceptions, though. The Kentucky Skin Cancer Center is here to help News 40 set the record straight.

First off, base tans? Is a quick tanning bed session the perfect ease into the sunny season?

Kentucky Skin Cancer Center founder Dr. Robert Skaggs said, “That’s definitely not true. Going to the tanning bed or getting that base tan is still causing the same amount of damage if not more damage that can cause skin cancers down the road and age-related effects that no one likes like brown spots, sprinkles and things of that nature.”

What about the rumor that all sunscreen SPF levels protect you the same?

“Unfortunately, that’s simply not true. 100 SPF is twice effective as 50 SPF, and 50 SPF is twice as effective as 25 SPF,” said Skaggs.

Skaggs says he only recommends wearing sunscreen 30 SPF and higher, but not just in the Summertime: year-round.

“You actually get a significant portion of UV light through cloudy days, snowy days, that can affect your skin and cause skin cancer and sun damage,” he informed.

Also, a quick sunscreen application before diving into the water is all you need, right?

Skaggs rebutted, “Sunscreen actually has to be on your skin for at least 10 minutes to be effective before you run into the ocean.”

Skaggs’ number one tip is to look out for those skin lesions that just won’t seam to heal.

“The most common things that I see for patients is they have a spot that just won’t go away like a pimple, or maybe they think it was a spider bite, and it turns out, low and behold it’s a skin cancer.”

No matter what, it’s never too late to start a new, safe summer routine.

“Whether you’re 10-years-old, or your 50 or your 90, sun protection can give you great protection for your skin’s overall health and skin cancer protection,” advised Skaggs.