This article will discuss some of the most common sun exposure and sunscreen myths. We'll get into how sun protection applies in particularly important ways for preppers and homesteaders. We'll also talk about tips for preventing sunscreen, and some sunscreen alternatives you can whip up in a pinch. Lastly, we'll discuss some special considerations when it comes to sun protection for seniors, disabled folks, and people with limited mobility. Let's dive right in with some myths to get started!
Myth 1: People with dark skin can't get sun damage
Melanin, which gives skin its dark color, does provide protection from the sun—but it doesn't make it impossible for the sun to damage the skin. Worse yet, darker skin makes it harder to identify when a sunburn is occurring, so olive and darker-complexioned people can be lulled into a false sense of security by thinking the damage isn't occurring.
Myth 2: Overcast skies and the winter season keep you from getting damaged
Unfortunately, sunburns and sun damage, in general, can still occur when the sky is overcast. Likewise, you can get sun damage during the winter. Sunscreen should be worn year-round.
Myth 3: Your skin isn't damaged until you get a sunburn.
The fact of the matter is, if you have a tan, your skin has been damaged. Tanning is a physical response to sun damage. So, even if you don't get burned, the "healthy tan" isn't so healthy after all. A tan is specifically a response to the skin cells becoming damaged.
Myth 4: You need to get sun exposure or you'll be Vitamin D deficient.
Thy myth is easy to fall prey to. Vitamin D is important, but incidental sun exposure usually keeps your body producing enough of it. Along with incidental exposure, foods like egg yolks give you all the vitamin D you need.
Myth 5: The more sun exposure, the more vitamin D you get.
Many sunbathers think "oof, I got a little sunburned. Well, at least I got my Vitamin D!" However, after about 20 minutes in direct sun, you actually begin having a negative effect in terms of what would have been the benefits from sun exposure. The window of sun exposure is very short before skin damage starts to occur.