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The Importance of Sunscreen

As summer fades away, as well as our tans, it’s still important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis. Even on cloudy days, 90 percent of UV rays can still get through and leave you sunburnt. Without sun protection, UVA and UVB rays damage and age your skin by penetrating the epidermis and dermis levels of skin allowing UV rays to mutate skin cells deep below surface level.

UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays and are primarily responsible for premature skin aging and wrinkling. UVA rays have also been shown to cause more skin damage at the cellular level and damage the outer layers of the skin. They are the main cause of sunburn and play a key role in the development of skin cancer.

Hawaii has recently banned sunscreens containing ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, due to studies that indicate these chemicals are damaging the ocean’s reefs and marine life. With these recent discoveries, it is important to choose sunscreens that effectively protect our skin from the harmful damage of UV rays, but also ensure the safety of our ocean.

There are more and more cases of skin cancer (Melanoma), appearing in young adults ages 15–25. Although Melanoma only accounts for three percent of skin cancer cases, it accounts for 75 percent of skin cancer deaths per year. The application of sunscreen should become a daily habit while choosing an environmentally safe sunscreen that protects not only your skin, but also the environment.

Additionally, it’s essential to get at least 20 minutes of unprotected sunlight each day to ensure we are getting enough vitamin D and it’s also important to enjoy the beautiful nature that our campus and surrounding areas provide.

Some easy ways to apply your new sunscreen habit is to:

— Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure.

— Reapply every two hours, especially when swimming or sweating.

— Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

— Use sunscreen with an SPF rating above 15. Don’t worry you will still get a tan; you’re just screening out the harmful UV rays, hence the name “sunscreen.”

— For complete blockage of UV rays, use sunblock such as a zinc stick.

— Limit your time in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

— When possible, cover up with clothing including broad-brimmed hats and UV protection sunglasses. Staying in shade can reduce UV exposure by 50 percent or more.

About the author

Joe Carlisle

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