To tan or not to tan

Published on: June 1st, 2015

Two types of people exist: those who tan and those who cannot. Or more specifically, those that are afraid of the consequences that can result from tanning either in the sun or by using a tanning bed or the people caking their bodies in baby oil, wanting to leave the pool with visible tan lines.T

Now with the sun finally shinning in Boulder, I am excited to say I will be laying out at the Buff pool on the CU campus during my days off. I do know the dangers of laying by the pool for too long on a bright summer day, and I do know the harmful results that I may have faced being in denial of what I was doing to my skin while laying under the bright UV rays during my last two high school years.

One of the most obvious worries that comes from spending too much time in the intense Colorado sun that hits even harder at the high altitude we are at, is of course cancer. Having both blonde hair and blue eyes, I have am pretty fair, so it is important to put on a lot of sun screen. It is embarrassing to say now that, not only was I laying in a level one tanning bed for 13 minutes a day, but I was also coating my skin with baby oil before partaking in my daily 9-5 pool routine.

Making sure one gets the right amount of sun, while using a protective lotion containing at least an SPF of 30, the sun can have positive effects. Not only does vitamin D help with maintaining bone health, it can prevent heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate and colon.

The sun provides these benefits and many more, but the sun does have a dark side. Skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. Three types of skin cancer exist: basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. So even though many benefits exist from basking in the sun, it should not be made your summer day job.

A few tips to stay safe but still get tan in the summer are: Spend shorter amounts of time in the sun on a daily basis (around 30 minutes a day), use sun screen when you are going to be exposed at longer periods of time, make sure to always protect your eyes with sun glasses, and even ask your doctor how much vitamin D he or she thinks is right for your skin to be getting.

Trust me, laying out under the burning sun feeling my sun getting darker with every passing minute is probably one of my top summer hobbies, but I also understand the huge risks of cancer, and I do not want to harm my skin and expose it to pre-aging. I now make sure to put on SPF 55 instead of coconut tanning oil, and I leave the sun before I turn into a lobster, but yes I still get a tan in the summer.

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