10 sunscreen myths you shouldn’t fall for – Longmont Times-Call

Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients like avobenzone that absorb UV rays. Mineral sunscreens rely on zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to block or reflect the rays. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Karen Kaplan | Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Attention sun protection skeptics: The sun’s UV rays are after you and you are only making their job easier.

Now summer is here, which means we’re spending more time in the sun – and are more exposed to the ultraviolet radiation it emits. Longer wavelength ultraviolet A rays can penetrate beneath the surface of the skin and cause premature aging. Shorter wavelength ultraviolet B rays affect the outermost layers of skin, causing sunburn and tanning. (A third type of ray, ultraviolet C, is intercepted by the Earth’s protective ozone layer.)

Both UVA and UVB damage the DNA in skin cells and cause mutations. These mutations can build up over time and cause tumor growth. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the more UV radiation you are exposed to, the greater the risk.