Viral skincare trends are often picked up and followed enthusiastically by Gen Z. However, a recent survey reveals that more than 50% of these skincare enthusiasts are unaware of the dangers of sun damage and the relevance of sunscreen in preventing skin cancer.

The survey by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests that Gen Z is at a high risk of skin cancer due to increased tanning and burning. One in four Gen Z adults already suffers skin damage from the sun, and only 37% of Gen Z adults use sunscreen.

A person's risk of skin cancer doubles if they have had more than five sunburns. One in five U.S. adults is at risk of developing skin cancer during their lifetime.

Despite being the most common form of cancer, skin cancer is one of the most preventable types, too. Taking a few precautions while going out in the sun by using protective clothing, regularly applying sunscreen, and avoiding tanning beds could help in prevention.

The use of sunscreen is not as popular as it should be, mainly because many people feel that it is not essential for preventing sunburn. Also, there are many misconceptions about the use.

During this Skin Cancer Awareness Month, an expert dermatologist shares with us facts about sunscreen that will encourage more people to start using it.

Myth#1 Sunscreen causes cancer

Fact: Sunscreen does not cause skin cancer. AAD recommends using broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent skin cancer.

"Sunscreen does not cause skin cancer. However, people who use sunscreen may spend more time in the sun increasing their risk of skin cancer. Most people do not use enough sunscreen. Even if you use enough sunscreen, you are still being exposed to UV radiation. Sunscreen does not block all UV radiation. UV radiation is 100% known to increase the risk of skin cancer," Dr. Kendall Egan, a board-certified dermatologist from Las Vegas, Nevada, told Medical Daily.

For those who have concerns about sunscreen, Dr. Egan recommends switching chemical sunscreens with mineral-based ones that contain zinc oxide.

Myth#2 There is no need for sunscreen on cloudy days

Fact: Sunscreens should be used every day, even on cloudy days.

Research shows that UV rays can pass through clouds up to 80% of the time. Sunscreens should not be skipped even in winter months, as snow can reflect up to 80% of UV rays.

"UV radiation is not completely blocked by clouds. To prevent skin cancer, sunscreen should be used every day," Dr. Egan said.

Myth#3 If the SPF is high, then there is no need to reapply sunscreen

Fact: Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or even more frequently.

"SPF is a measurement of UVB protection. If a sunscreen is rated SPF 30, this means that a person can theoretically, if they applied enough sunscreen, be exposed to the sun 30 times longer before turning red or burning than if they were not wearing sunscreen. UVB, a type of UV radiation, can cause your skin to turn red and burn," Dr. Egan said.

"During testing for SPF labeling, a very large amount of sunscreen is applied to determine the rating. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen to get the true SPF protection. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours, more frequently if sweating or swimming," she explained.

Myth#4 People with dark skin tones do need sunscreen

Fact: Regardless of a person's skin tone, sunscreen is relevant for preventing UV exposure.

"People with darker skin can get skin cancer. UV exposure also accelerates aging and can cause dark spots or sun spots on the skin. For the face, tinted sunscreens are the best choice for overall protection from UV light and electronic devices. Tinted sunscreens block light emitted from electronic devices. This light can worsen melasma or dark spots on the skin. Tinted mineral-based sunscreens are the best for fighting melasma and other pigmentation skin concerns on the face. Chemical sunscreens heat the skin and make melasma and other pigmentary concerns worsen," Dr. Egan said.