Read time: 2 minutes
Updated May 2022
Originally Published August 2018
Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, no matter your age, skin color or type. Know the myths and facts about sun safety and how to protect your skin.
Myth: Getting a base tan helps protect my skin from the sun.
Fact: Any color change to your skin is sun damage. A base tan on your skin doesn’t mean that you are protected. In fact, it means your cells are damaged. Over time, damaged skin cells lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Sun damage does not always look like a sunburn or peeling skin.
Myth: I don’t need to wear sunscreen when it’s cloudy.
Fact: You can get sun damage when it is cloudy. The ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause damage to your skin penetrate through clouds and can reach your skin. Depending on the type of cloud, UV rays can even be magnified. Practice sun safety if you are going to be outdoors any time of year
Myth: Tanning beds are a safer way to get a tan.
Fact: Tanning beds expose you to harmful UV rays. This type of UV light is stronger and can cause more damage in less time than sun rays. Learn to love your natural skin color and avoid tanning beds.
Myth: You can’t get sun damage through glass.
Fact: Glass does not filter out all UV rays, so your skin can still get damaged. That’s why experts recommend you wear sunscreen every day, not just on the days you are outside.
Myth: I don’t need to wear sunscreen after 4 pm
Fact: UV rays can cause damage to your skin any time during the day. The sun’s UV rays are strongest, 10 am–4 pm. Practice sun safety during all daylight hours.
Myth: My eyes can’t get sun damaged.
Fact: Damage to the eyes from sun is called photokeratitis. Many residents are affected here in Utah. Wear sunglasses or ski goggles that have 100% UV protection to prevent eye damage.
Myth: It’s winter, so I can’t get sunburned.
Fact: Temperature does not affect UV rays. During winter, practice sun safety when you go skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, or snowshoeing. UV rays are stronger at higher elevations and reflect off snow.
Remember, a tan is your skin’s reaction to UV damage. There’s no such thing as a safe, healthy tan. Practice sun safety year-round.
Learn more about ways to protect your skin from the sun.