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Scientists Debunk ‘Really Dangerous’ Online Myths About Sun Protection

Doctors have issued a warning over “dangerous” sun protection trends on social media after a new study found 1 in 7 Americans under 35 think daily sunscreen use is more harmful than direct sun exposure.

In a new national survey, Rajesh Nair, an oncology surgeon at the Orlando Health Cancer Institute, and his team found that young adults are likely to believe myths and misinformation around sun protection, with 14 percent of 18- to 35-year-olds believing the risks of sunscreen outweigh the dangers of sun exposure.

“People buy into a lot of really dangerous ideas that put them at added risk,” Nair told Newsweek.

“The main concerning information I see disseminated is that the downsides of sunscreen are so terrible, it is better to put yourself at a very high risk not only for melanoma but multiple other skin cancers,” Nair said. “We are seeing melanoma so much more often in really young people and the simple application of sunscreen can go such a long way in preventing life-threatening problems.”

As well as misinformation regarding the safety of sunscreen, the study also highlighted several concerning trends promising “natural” sun protection. For example, nearly 1 in 4 under-35s believe drinking water prevents sunburn.

“There is no scientific data suggesting that drinking water provides any protection from the sun,” Nair said.

Read more here from Newsweek. 

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