You are my Sunshine

My only sunshine. You make me happy when the skies are grey. You’ll never know dear how much I love you. So please don’t take my sunshine away! No one will be taking your sunshine away, because today is the longest day of the year (aka Summer Solstice)! And it’s the first official day of summer!!!

Before you soak up the sun, here are some tips from the CDC on how to protect yourself from UV radiation.

  1. Seek shade, especially during midday hours. If you’re going to the beach, bring an umbrella.
  2. Wear clothing to protect exposed skin. But it’s hot! I don’t think this means you have to wear a turtleneck sweater and long pants, but it is still important that you protect your skin. See #5
  3. Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  4. Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible. Your favorite pair of fraybans (I have some too) might not actually be protecting you from the rays of the sun.
  5. Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection. Click here for a list of the best sunscreens. Make sure to also put some sunscreen on your face!
  6. Avoid indoor tanning. I don’t want you looking like a snookie cookie fresh out of the oven!

Photo by Alyssa Llamas

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common types of skin cancer and they are highly curable. “However, melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous. About 65%–90% of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light (CDC).” It’s definitely worthwhile to take an extra couple of minutes to put on some sunblock.

Not only can you get a nice tan from the sun, but you can also get vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for strong bones. “The body makes vitamin D when skin is directly exposed to the sun, and most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs this way” (NIH). However, your body won’t produce vitamin D if your skin is exposed to sunshine indoors through a window. So go outside, but not for too long! And make sure to follow those tips mentioned earlier!

By ALYSSA LLAMAS

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