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Experts say you should apply sunscreen whenever you’re exposed to the sun.Burton/Getty Images
  • A new survey shows that the majority of people believe tanning is healthy.
  • According to experts, sunburn is the body’s response to DNA damage caused by the sun.
  • They say that overexposure to the sun can lead to skin damage and skin cancer.
  • When outdoors, it is recommended to wear protective clothing such as sunscreen and hats.

The majority of Europeans, and people in other parts of the world, believe that tanning is both attractive and healthy.

The former is probably controversial, but dermatologists say the latter is dead wrong.

8 out of 10 Europeans find tanned skin attractive and 73% consider tanning to be ‘healthy’, according to findings presented at the 31st European Dermatological and Venereal Congress this week. It turns out that

Both beliefs were also common outside of Europe, including in the Americas, Africa, Oceania, and Asia. 59% believe tanning is healthy.

But Dr. Thomas Wang, director of the Department of Skin Oncology at Hogue Memorial Hospital Presbyterian Melanoma and Complex Skin Cancer Program in California, told Healthline that sunburn is the body’s protective response to DNA damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. He said that it was

“When you get a sunburn, there are signs that DNA damage has already occurred,” he said.

Somewhat counterintuitively, this study, conducted by the La Roche-Posay Institute and Ipsos, found that 92% of Europeans and 86% of non-Europeans are aware that sun exposure ages their skin. I was.

“If you’re not worried about skin cancer, keep in mind that sun exposure can speed up aging.

“About 90% of skin aging is caused by sun exposure,” says Angela, a dermatologist at the Ohio Associates Center for Surgical Dermatology and Dermatology and founder of youth skincare company Bright Girl. Dr. Casey told Healthline. “Applying sunscreen every day can help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Just like regular exercise and a healthy diet, consistent daily use of sunscreen can help keep your skin healthy. We can keep it strong.”

Most people, including 84% of Europeans and 79% of non-Europeans, say they do not protect themselves from the sun all year round.

In fact, researchers found that only 10% of Europeans and 14% of non-Europeans regularly use sunscreen, wear hats and protective clothing, and stay in shade year-round to avoid sun exposure. I discovered that I was trying to stay in

Casey pointed out that not only can the sun damage your skin in any season, but even UV rays that reflect off water, snow, and other bright surfaces can be harmful.

Other common misconceptions highlighted in the survey are that sunscreen protects the skin from burns and thus eliminates the need to apply sunscreen, and that sunscreen is not necessary if the weather is cloudy. was.

“Excess melanin in tanned skin can result in an SPF of 2 to 4, which is slightly better than no SPF at all,” says Casey. “However, SPF 2 to 4 is far from sufficient sun protection, and skin can easily get burned after short exposure to the sun with little sunscreen.”

“This study shows how the ‘healthy’ tanning myth persists, even in people who have already suffered sun damage or developed skin cancer,” said the study’s lead investigator. said principal investigator Dr. Thierry Passeron, professor and chairman of the university. The Department of Dermatology, University of the Côte d’Azur, Nice, France, said in a press release:

“The belief that tanning is healthy and attractive is a learned and deeply ingrained belief that likely began in the 1920s,” said Casey. In contrast, the wealthier upper classes were proud of their white skin and wore parasols to protect their skin from the sun outdoors. This idea changed in the 1920s, when fashion icon Coco Chanel, along with such prominent publications as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, used tanned skin to promote leisure, wealth, travel, and society. I started to associate it with status.”

A study found that even 72% of high-risk people, including those who had previously had skin cancer, consider tanning to be healthy. .

“My patients with a history of skin cancer are likely to spend more time in the sun compared to those without skin cancer. “We value recreational experiences, vacations, or jobs that allow us to be active,” Casey said. They associate tanning with important life events, which is why many have associated “tanning” with health, vitality, fun, leisure, productivity and well-being. ”

Such attitudes persist, Casey says, and change requires an incremental approach.

“My advice is to adopt atomic habits. Make small changes to your routine so that you can do it consistently,” she said. “For example, wear a hat when you’re outdoors at a sporting event. Put sunscreen next to your toothbrush. Don’t forget to brush your teeth. Focus on applying sunscreen as your face, scalp and ears are exposed to the sun most of the day.”

Experts emphasized that sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours for full protection, but half of the respondents who used sunscreen only used it once a day (and 10% said they never used sunscreen).

“Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen to achieve an SPF rating on a sunscreen product,” says Casey. “In fact, research shows that, in general, most of us only achieve half of his SPF rating on sunscreen products.”

The Society of Pediatric Dermatology offers the following sunscreen guidelines:

  • For younger children, ½ teaspoon for face and 1 oz for body.
  • For older children, teens and adults, at least 9 teaspoons total including 1 teaspoon for face and neck, 1 teaspoon for torso, 1 teaspoon for back, 1 teaspoon for each arm and 2 teaspoons for each leg Use a full teaspoon.

Experts say most sunscreens are only effective for 90 to 120 minutes.

It seems that the choice of sunscreen is also important. The Academy of Pediatric Dermatology recommends a broad-spectrum (blocks both UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Casey says that people with fair skin should use her SPF of 45 or higher.

Direct sunlight should be avoided during peak hours from 10am to 2pm. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing protective clothing outdoors, such as a wide-brimmed hat, to protect your face, scalp, ears, and neck.

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