The Scary Stats About Sun Damage You Didn’t Know

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By now, you know the sun (besides that whole “powering-all-life-processes-on-Earth thing”) is totally sinister when it comes to your skin. Pesky sun spots, premature aging and really serious conditions like skin cancer have pretty much everyone taking cover—and, for those of you who aren’t, here are just a few statistics that will scare you into reaching for some powerful sun protection, stat.

Indoor Tanning
You know indoor tanning is really terrible, but, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), studies have found a 59-percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning, and the risk increases with each use. An even scarier stat? On an average day in the U.S., more than 1 million people still make the trip to a tanning salon! That’s a lot of people upping their chance for melanoma every day.

Age of Exposure
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging are caused by the sun. And you know that readily thrown-around statistic about the bulk of your sun exposure already occurring before age 18? The foundation says that’s totally false, and only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18—so it’s definitely not too late to make a difference in how your skin will age if you are past your teen years.

Effectiveness of Sunscreen
Even if you are completely diligent about applying sunscreen 365 days a year, the AAD says that alone really isn’t enough. First, you need to make sure your sunscreen

has these three features: a water-resistant formula, an SPF of 30 or greater and broad-spectrum (both UVA and UVB) protection. In addition, they recommend reapplying every two hours, wearing protective clothing (like a long-sleeved shirt or hat), seeking shade between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and taking extra caution whenever you are near water, snow or sand, as they reflect rays and increases the chance of you getting burned. 

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