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Now that we are in the midst of summer, it is only natural to want to go out and spend time in the sun. Everyone knows that too much sun is harmful, but despite knowing that we don’t always do everything we can to protect ourselves. It easy to forget that the sun and the rays it emits are extremely dangerous. The feeling you get lying out on the beach or on your deck, letting the warmth soak in, is wonderful. Some people enjoy being in the sun so much, that they find it addicting. The dark side of the sun is often very hard to see and admit to. The United States Environmental Protection Agency says that the sun releases radiation rays, known as UVR.  UVR damage our skin and the scary part is that they are strong enough to cause mutations in our skin’s DNA.  When this occurs, cancer has begun to form. The Environmental and Protection Agency cites that 90% of non-melanoma cases are direct result of skin exposure. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin caner and the leading cause of death among all those who develop some type of skin cancer.

Most people don’t develop skin cancer. But many develop signs of aging overtime that include: wrinkles, sagging and aging brown spots. Spending time in the sun surely doesn’t make you look any younger! All hope is not lost, however. You can still safely enjoy the sun if you follow the right precautions. When you are out in the sun, the first sign of trouble comes when you get sunburn.  A sunburn is induced by UVR.  The skin blisters and the blood vessels dilate causing redness, along with a burning sensation. It is an unpleasant reminder that you were out too long. Ultimately, heredity plays a big part when it comes to who will end up developing skin cancer. Yet chronic lifetime exposure to the sun the sun is never a positive thing.

If you are one of those people that enjoy lying out on the beach or needs to be able to get a tan, there are still some things that you can do. For the former, make sure that you use sun block and are wearing protective clothing like a large hat. Sun blocks now are waterproof and wont come off if you sweat or go swimming. Check with your doctor as well, because certain medications will affect your sun exposure. To the tanner:  although exposure to the sun increases your vitamin D levels, it’s about the only positive. One tan will permanently damage your skin forever. Going out into the sun with a tan won’t protect you, in fact it will only make thing worse. Spray on tans containing DHA work by dying your skin, and are safer than all the other methods. However, spray on tans will not protect you from the sun. At all costs, do not go to a tanning bed. Tanning beds have been directly linked as a leading cause of melanoma. Essentially, they are cancer-causing machines that emit very dangerous UV rays. The bottom line is if you have to be out in the sun, limit your exposure time and protect yourself. Limited exposure to the sun, as was mentioned previously, is helpful to booster vitamin D.  Try to keep your time outside to a minimum on these hot summer days and relax inside instead.