Sun Safety in the Sunshine State

Zoe Jean-Charles, Reporter

In Florida, which tends to be hot and sunny for the majority of the year, it is not uncommon to see people of all ages with tans and sunburns. As such, the risk of sunburn greatly increases as the Earth moves closer to the sun in the summer months, making it all the more important to be aware of the dangers of sun exposure and how to prevent sunburn and sun-related skin diseases. 

   While vitamin D from the sun is necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the sun also has the ability to cause great harm. The sun’s ultraviolet lights have great potential to cause damage to the skin, eyes, and immune system, along with causing premature skin aging and, in extreme cases, causing cancer. This varies from person to person, as someone with more natural melanin in their skin is more resistant to UV (ultraviolet) lights than someone with fairer skin. Natural melanin absorbs UV rays making it harder for the sun to burn or damage the skin but not impossible. Melanin from tanning, however, does not protect from sun damage. Regardless of whether or not a person has melanin, it is important to protect against the sun. 

   So how does one protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays? Especially in the sunshine state. There are many ways in which one can protect themselves and even their family members from the sun’s “deadly lasers.” 

   Applying generous amounts of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can protect one from UV light and a multitude of other rays produced by the sun. Water-resistant sunscreen is especially important when swimming because sunscreen is useless if it all comes off in the water. Depending on how much one swims or sweats, sunscreen should be reapplied about every two to three hours. 

   Wearing protective clothing such as long sleeve shirts, pants, brimmed hats, and sunglasses is another way to keep one’s skin and eyes from getting sun damaged. However, in Florida’s high heat, covering up all the time is unrealistic and, in some cases, dangerous as it can lead to heat stroke or other overheating-related medical issues and emergencies. So, when unable to cover, seeking shade can help diminish exposure to the sun. 

   For those who wear makeup, purchasing foundations and other skin-related products with sun-screen mixed in is a good way to protect against the sun without having to divert too far from one’s makeup routine. Lipsticks and balms with SPF 15 can be purchased to keep lips safe from UV lights. 

  Sun in the sunshine state is unavoidable. Sun and UV-related diseases, however, are not. So when out and about in the Florida sun, make sure to be aware and take the proper precautions to avoid skin damage and disease both now and later on in life.