For most people, summer is the best season. No classes, no worries, just two and a half months of relaxation. And for a lot of people, that means going to the beach to lay out in the sun and work on their tan.
But as fun and easy as getting that perfect sun-kissed look we all want might be, it carries a lot of risks that can last a lifetime. Just ask Devon Finley, who was always careful whenever she went out in the sun: “I put sunscreen all over and I reapplied… I still got skin cancer.”
Now let’s be honest, most college students don’t really think about getting skin cancer (unless they’re nursing majors or pre-health). And most of us, like Devon, are careful when we go out in the sun: we put on sunscreen, we limit our time, we stay hydrated, etc. But sunscreen isn’t a cure-all, and it isn’t 100% effective.
Plus, it can’t protect you as well if you use tanning beds, which are cancer-causing because they imitate the sun’s rays, or are even stronger in some cases. In fact, just laying in a bed once before the age of 25 can increase your chance of getting some skin cancers by 67%. Some people can develop cataracts, where the lens of the eye gets cloudy, and others even develop an addiction to tanning! If you don’t believe me, check out this episode of My Strange Addiction on TLC.
So how can we protect ourselves and still have fun? First, make sure you put on a good quality sunscreen, and reapply every two hours! Opt out of tanning beds, and instead, try spray tans or lotions. Make sure you stay hydrated and moisturize. And limit your time in the sun, especially if you burn easily. Take it from Devon: “Being tan isn’t worth it, having those few extra minutes isn’t worth it.” So definitely have fun in the sun this summer, but maybe not for too long.