Sunbathing has become a popular pastime, where people strive to achieve that perfect golden tan, but what people may not understand is the damage and harm they may be placing their body in.
The ozone layer is depleting every day and the harmful UV rays are coming through. UV rays cause harm to the skin and can cause a person to have skin cancer if they do not protect themselves from the sun.
The sun is our friend, providing our bodies with vitamin D, but it’s only good in moderation. Sandy Kemerling, a registered nurse at Missouri Western said there are several ways students can protect themselves from over-sun exposure.
“The best way to protect your body is to stay out of the sun for long periods of time,” Kemerling said.
The sun can still do damage even when people don’t burn. A tan is actually an after-effect of sun damage. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One in five people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.
Kemerling stated that when out in the sun, students need to make sure and stay hydrated.
“Make sure to drink a lot of water,” Kemerling said.
The water keeps the body hydrated and less likely to burn. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water. When a person does not drink water they become more susceptible to having a heat stroke.
Also, if you are going out, you should wear a hat and put sunscreen on. Even just a limited amount of exposure can burn skin. The more people take care of their skin the less likely chance they have of getting skin cancer.
“Even if you want to lie out and tan, at least wear SPF15 to protect yourself,” Kemerling said. Also, make sure the sunscreen is water and sweat proof.
Junior Shaheed Hayes tans easily, but even those who have darker skin can be burned.
“I do not really have to work that hard to not get burned, but it does happen,” Hayes said.
Freshman Ryan Murray always puts sunscreen on before going outside. He is proof that some people are aware and are taking the time to protect themselves.
Sophomore Christina Nuckles thinks it can be a hassle to always wear sunscreen.
“I normally do not take the time to put on sun-screen,” Nuckles said.
Nuckles knows the risks that she is taking, but not everyone knows. People are able to get second and third degree burns from the sun.
Aloe vera and after-sun lotion can help with sunburns. Kemerling advises people to stay away from anything with alcohol content.
Students can still have fun in the sun, but wearing sunscreen, sunglasses and hats can help protect skin and help prevent skin cancer.