Tuesday , June 27 2017
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Not Many Understand Sun Protection

It is a beautiful summers day, you and your family are about to head out to do something outdoorsy, but you realize you are missing sun protection. Gosh darn it! So you head to the pharmacy to find what others refer to as sunscreen to apply to you and your family members to keep you safe from the effects of the sun’s rays. But you, like so many other people are so utterly confused about whether or not to use sunscreen, and there are a number of reasons why.

Firstly, a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology last week found that not everyone understands the difference between ultraviolet-B rays which cause sunburns and skin cancer, and the ultraviolet-A rays which do not cause sunburn. Instead, UVA rays leads to skin darkening and aging, oh, and skin cancer. So is there really a difference in what you should protect yourself from? And to add to that, it is not as if the beach goer can sit there and choose which rays to be hit by.

Another reason that people are confused about sun protection is this whole SPF thing. We think it protects against UVA rays, but it does not. And only about 43% of people even know what SPF stands for. Now imagine me, as one of these 43% in South Africa, pale, innocent…then I’m confronted with something called SF 34, who has even heard of that? I’m still not sure what it was but that is by far the best sunscreen I have ever had, I think anyways.

Then, there is the fact that dermatologists have recommended that we use broad spectrum sunscreen because it protects against UVA and UVB rays, and yet only 34% of people know what that means and only a few sunscreen brands actually have it. Which is really strange since it is the only thing that really works.

So maybe you are not sitting there going, yes, I know which sunscreen to get, broad spectrum, got it! Well, sorry sir or madam. A study from the Environmental Working Group recently found that four out of five sunscreens and SPF products do not work properly in the first place. So our only alternative is to go with zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Which if you have not tried to spread over your body, have fun with that. Your best bet is clothing that covers you, or only going to the beach on a cloudy, rainy day.

About Emily Hersey

Emily Hersey
Emily is an African Studies and History student who loves reading, the gym, hip hop and horses. If she's not working on her latest research project, she's definitely working towards her next trip to South Africa and doing her Master's degree there. Contact Emily: emily.hersey@youthindependent.com