Families pass down so many things from generation to generation: recipes, remedies, and Abuela's beauty secrets. Starting this summer, add this to the list: "teaching the kids the truth about the dangers of sun exposure." Here are four myths commonly believed by Latinas, according to Maritza Perez, M.D., a dermatologist in New Canaan, Connecticut, who also serves as Senior Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation. Read the truth, so you can begin protecting your skin -- and your kids' skin -- today.
TRUTH Caucasian skin might seem to burn more quickly and severely than darker complexions do, but that doesn't mean that Latinas are naturally protected from damage. Ask your physician as well as your child's pediatrician to set up an evaluation. "Everyone should have a skin exam, from head to toe to between the toes," says Dr. Perez.
TRUTH By exposing yourself to the sun, you're inviting wrinkles and other signs of aging, no matter what your skin tone is. Ultraviolet rays destroy collagen and elastin, which contributes to that "leather look."
TRUTH Yes, tans are associated with a healthy glow, but "any tan is a bad tan, except the tan in the can," says Dr. Perez. Look into bronzers and tinted moisturizers that mimic that glow -- without the damage.
TRUTH You don't have to be lounging poolside to be affected by ultraviolet rays. "You're getting the cumulative damage to your skin if you don't use sunscreen on a regular basis," says Dr. Perez, who uses sunscreen whenever she's outside, as well as protective clothing such as a hat and sunglasses.