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Summer safety tip: Suntan lotion

Many people love to sunbathe and it's totally safe--as long as you wear suntan lotion!
Many people love to sunbathe and it's totally safe--as long as you wear suntan lotion!
Photo by Craig Sillitoe/Getty Images

Now that the summer is officially upon us it is time to get out the sun glasses and swim suits and start sun bathing! Although many people fear sun exposure, lying in the sun and tanning can actually be extremely healthy and rejuvenating since sun rays contain vitamin D which has helpful wellness benefits. That said, sun rays can also be extremely dangerous and harmful. If you stay out in the sun too long you can get sun burned and, if left untreated, sunburns can result in blisters and/or infections. Heat stroke (or sun stroke) is also a danger of being in the sun too long.

Applying suntan lotion is essential to summer safety!
Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images

Luckily, applying suntan lotion is a quick and easy way to protect yourself when you are out of doors on sunny days. Suntan lotion makes it possible to tan instead of burn and that enables you to get all the benefits of the sun’s rays without any of the minuses. Years ago few people understood the extremely important role of suntan lotion. In fact, in the 1960s people would go to the beach intending to burn and then let the redness turn into a tan! Needless to say, a sharp rise in skin cancer in the latter part of the 10th century made people more wary of the sun and this sharply increased the sales of suntan lotion.

According to the American Melanoma Foundation, an organization that aims to raise awareness about skin cancer and its causes:

“Sunscreens should be used daily if you are going to be in the sun for more than 20 minutes. Most people will receive this amount of sun exposure while performing routine activities. They can be applied under makeup. There are many cosmetic products available today that contain sunscreens for daily use because sun protection is the principal means of preventing premature aging and skin cancer. Sunscreen used on a regular basis actually allows some repair of damaged skin. Because the sun's reflective powers are great - 17 percent on sand and 80 percent on snow - don't reserve the use of these products for only sunny summer days. Even on a cloudy day 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds. Skiers beware, ultraviolet radiation increases 4 percent for every 1,000-foot increase in altitude.”

Also called “sunscreen,” suntan lotion is relatively cheap and can be purchased at most drug stores or even supermarkets. It comes in a wide range of brands and “numbers” which represent how much protection from the sun you want (“4” is usually the lowest level—meaning you will tan the most—but bottles can go up to as high as “30” or even “50”) and all responsible adults should make sure that suntan lotion is on both them and any children in their care. Enjoy yourself if you are going out on hot sunny days—but make sure your skin is protected first!