As it continues to heat up here in North Texas, it’s a good time to talk about sunscreen- when to wear it, why we wear it, and what happens when we don’t wear it.
Always. Seriously. Well, maybe not at night. That would be overkill. But seriously, you should always wear sunscreen if you’re going to be outside during the day. If you’re outside time is mostly spent going from car to air-conditioned building, back to car, back to air-conditioned building, you can get away with a lower SPF but you should still wear sunscreen. If you plan to be outside for extended periods of time, you should definitely wear it and you should have extra with you so that you can reapply it every two hours as the day goes on, as well as after swimming or where you sweat it off. You think those clouds are gonna protect you? They ain’t. In fact, those clouds are tricking you into thinking you’re safe when, in reality, you’re even more likely to get burned. So the moral of the story is, you should always be wearing sunscreen when you exit your house.
The sun gives us all life. It lights up our planet, feeds our plants, and keeps us from all freezing to death in the icy cold of space. But it’s not as friendly as we’d like to believe. We’ve all heard about UV rays, but do any of us really know what they are? Ultra Violet rays, or UV rays, are a type of electromagnetic radiation, transmitted from the sun in waves. Their energy is strong enough to break chemical bonds, making them harmful to living tissue, like for example, human skin. Protecting our skin from UV rays is a top priority for our bodies, which is why we get tans. Our body, in an effort to protect our skin, sends melanin to the skin cells to shield them from damage, resulting in that bronzed look that we all crave. Too prolonged exposure to UV rays, and our skin can get overwhelmed, resulting in a burn, so you need to help it out a little bit. Wearing sunscreen has been proven time and time again that it will help you avoid damaging sunburns, decreasing your risk of developing skin cancer.
How does it work? Basically, sunscreens use minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to physically block UV rays by reflecting the light back towards the sun. They also use organic chemicals such as oxybenzone to absorb UV rays before they reach your skin. Pretty cool, right?
What If I Don’t Buy It?
That’s fine, but just know that, besides the fact that the sun can literally kill you (read: CANCER), it’s also going to make you age faster. Remember the neighbor from There’s Something About Mary? Yeah, that’s totally what you’re going to look like in your 40s and 50s if you keep rolling the skin care dice. Think premature wrinkles, sun spots, moles, and that’s if you’re lucky. People with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, often have to have surgery to remove the cancer, resulting in missing noses, lips, huge swaths of skin, you get the picture. So don’t let your stubborn desire for a tan now sentence your future self to painful and unnecessary suffering at the hands of a surgeon or radiologist.
I think we’ve made our point. Wear sunscreen. All the time. Period.