risks and benefits of sun exposure


Spring break trips are the perfect getaways for multiple reasons. You may decompress or immerse yourself in activities you enjoy, whether or not that occurs in the great outdoors. If you feel so inclined, having fun in the sun isn’t the worst thing in the world. But, it’s important to remember that even if the sun makes you tan and happy (or in my case, very burnt), you must protect yourself accordingly. 

We’ve all been there- going out to tan and ending up looking like a crisp, burnt, peeling lobster. It’s all fun and games until you end up burnt, or worse, experiencing long term effects of sun exposure. Even if a tan develops from laying out in the sun, the more time spent exposing ourselves, the more likely signs of aging and the chances of getting skin cancer accelerate. 

More time spent in the sun exposes us to harmful chemicals like free radicals. Free radicals damage our skin when UV rays from the sun react with oxygen in the air, which affects the cell functioning of our skin. When the cells are not repaired, wrinkles and signs of aging may appear.

But wait... we all look better with that glowing tan but end up getting wrinkles in the process? Even though it may be daunting at times, wearing sunscreen is truly vital. Sunscreen protects by blocking UV rays that can cause damage, early aging, or even worse, skin cancer. When choosing sunscreen, opt for a higher SPF to stay protected for longer. SPF 30 is the best and we recommend applying it 30 minutes before sun exposure so it has time to absorb into your skin and reapplying at least every two hours.

Okay, not all of the sun’s beautiful rays are necessarily terrible. Being in the sun increases exposure to Vitamin D, which helps boost immune system function, improves mood, and decreases feelings of depression. Often when people refer to seasonal depression, it’s due to a lack of Vitamin D. So yes, while you’re getting tan and relaxing, you’re also increasing feelings of happiness!

It’s essential to get some sun and relax-but you have to be careful and adamant about how much sun you’re getting. As long as you stick to a beneficial sunscreen and get necessary shade, you’re protecting yourself from the harmful effects of too much sun. Enjoy soaking up the sun while you can... it may be quite cold when you return.