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Dangerous Sun Protection Alternatives Trending Online

by kelly / August, 10 2022 01:30

Picture of a kid's back with sand on it at the beach

The internet is a great source of information but it can also be a source of great disinformation. Today there is a dangerous trend popping up on TikTok and Instagram in regards to sun protection. There are hundreds of videos circulating online using oils, mud, and even sand instead of sunscreen. Unfortunately this spread of information can cause major harm.

Just Say No to Online Sun Protection Trends

Let’s get right to it - using oils, muds, or sand to protect your skin from the sun does not work. And if you’re not protecting your skin your risk of skin cancer increases – according to the Skin Cancer Foundation around 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 86% of melanomas are associated with UV exposure.

As Skin Cancer Foundation spokesperson and dermatologist Dr. Ramzi Saad explains:

"Applying oil to your skin instead of sunscreen is very harmful. Depending on the main ingredient, oils provide either zero protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, or very low protection—tanning oils typically have an SPF of 8. Only broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF 15 or higher provide adequate sun protection."

If you’re using mud or sand to try and protect yourself as Dr. Saad says:

"No one will remain buried under the sand or coated in mud…A better alternative is incorporating protective clothing into your sun protection routine. Clothing is the first line of defense against skin cancer, so cover up with long-sleeved shirts and pants whenever possible."

So don’t follow these trends online. Use proper sun protection methods such as applying and reapplying sunscreen, wearing sun protective clothing & accessories, and seeking shade during peak sun hours.

Suncare Smarts

While it’s so tempting to believe this information online because sometimes it can seem so convincing, go to the real experts (like your dermatologist) to get your information on sun protection!

For even more real sun protection tips check out our Suncare Smarts series.

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