As the season transitions from summer to fall, you may find yourself squeezing every ounce of hot, sunny weather into your day. Playing volleyball with your friends, going on a mid-afternoon walk, going outside to draw clouds in your cloud-journal – all summer-pastimes that use summer to its fullest potential.
But before you indulge in these outside activities, I would like to offer what is quite possibly my most sacred value: Wear. Sunscreen. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about the good stuff – Coppertone, Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, Neutrogena – brands that protect us from the ever-maleficent rays of the sun.
I know what you're thinking: But what about my summer tan? If I don’t get enough sunnow, I’ll be looking like Keanu Reeves by the time November rolls around! I’m going to stop you right there. Allow me to explain a few of the harms caused by ultraviolet light: the most dangerous thing about prancing around without sunscreen is the grossly large increase in your chances of getting skin cancer and/or melanoma. Literally, 95-99% of skin cancers are caused by prolonged, unprotected exposure to the sun and sunbeds (I won’t say anything about sun beds because if you are already using them, then you have already stopped reading this opinion article). Furthermore, exposure to harmful rays can dramatically give you a predisposition to premature aging. The act of tanning is the act of literally damaging your skin – your skin is in the sun so long that it reacts by darkening itself to prevent even further damage. So every time you young people go outside to kick the hacky sack or take your snapchats without the protection of sunscreen, you are damaging your skin!
And it doesn’t even stop there. Do you think that sunscreen only matters in the spring and summer time? Think again buster. In the fall and even in the icy grip of Indiana winter, the sun still shines its harmful rays through the clouds. If you are having trouble grasping this concept, think about it this way: if you walk outside and you can see your surroundings, then voila, the sun is out, which means that harmful rays are still coming for you! If it’s daytime, then you need sunscreen to protect against harmful rays, even if it is cloudy.
It might seem tedious or unimportant, but wearing sunscreen daily can eventually lead to some amazing results – you will start to find that your skin no longer looks drier than an alligator's elbow. You might also notice that your acne and scrapes and bruises are fading much quicker – this is because ultraviolet rays will “tan” the dead skin, and hence the dead skin will stay tanner much longer than the skin around it, resulting in frustrating marks.
If you’ve made it this far, I’d like to recommend Neutrogena as a good sunscreen – they usually create their sunscreen with specific ingredients that pander to those with sensitive skin.