Liliana Venditti ‘17 – In preparation for Spring Break, seniors sprinted towards the tanning beds in order to not completely burn to a crisp under the intense Mexico sun. Although they had the right intentions, they were at risk of harming their skin. Many of us strive for that golden brown sun-kissed skin tone, because it is often seen as a “healthy glow.” However, sunshine does not create healthy skin-it damages it. Things that too much sunshine can do to you include:
- Premature aging (yes, that means wrinkles ladies, but also includes looking like a used leather wallet)
- Damage to eyes
- Weakened immune system
- Increased chance of Melanoma Cancer
Girls are taught from a young age to avoid wrinkles. Beauty companies like Revlon and L’oreal hound ladies around the world to try products like their new “magic rejuvenating eye cream.” So why would we spend time and money to tan, creating wrinkles and dark spots only to later on pay top dollar trying to reverse the effects of the gorgeous tan they had to have?
Everyone at one point has looked directly into the sun, despite being told at least three hundred times as a kid not too. Prolonged exposure to sunlight, and opening eyes in tanning beds can in some cases lead to partial blindness.
“I didn’t know that tanning could be so dangerous,” Josh Schultz ‘16 said. “I feel that if you don’t go too much you should be fine though.”
Melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer, claiming one person every 50 minutes. According to skincancer.org, “Over the past 3 decades, more people have had skin cancer than any other kind of cancer.” A recent study in the UK concluded that 86% of melanomas cancer is caused by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. However, there are ways to prevent this, by wearing a safe amount of sunscreen.
As children we were lathered every ten minutes with SPF 100 sunscreen, but anything after SPF 50 that claims to be more protective is actually a lie. After SPF 50 there is a minimal difference in protection, but a massive difference in price. Research associate at Penn state, Kimberly Mallett explains, “An SPF of 100 does not mean twice the protection of SPF 50. Even an SPF 15 sunscreen blocks over 90 percent of UVB rays, so you don’t need an SPF of 80 or 100 for adequate protection.” The percentage of effectiveness of SPF increases at a slower pace than people tend to believe. Now sunscreen often claims to protect against harmful sun rays, and although they do they can lead to other health issues.
According to www.ewg.org, “Laboratory studies of several sunscreen chemicals indicate that they may mimic hormones and disrupt the hormone system Some research on animals suggests that oxybenzone and other sunscreen chemicals can be toxic to reproductive systems or interfere with normal development.”
Many of these sunscreens contain chemicals such as oxybenzone have been linking to massive issues with coral reefs around the world. Around 14 thousand tons of sunscreen end up in the coral reefs each year, which explains why 80% of the coral reefs in the Caribbean have been lost.
It is beneficial that we get some sunlight and fresh air to ensure we get enough vitamin B3, but it does not take as much as one would think, and one will not get skin cancer from being outside for 10 minutes. But it is important that whenever you’re outside for long periods of time to use sunscreen, but make sure not to over do it as that can also have health risks.