Press "Enter" to skip to content

In Praise of Sunscreen

With the warm weather, students start to worry about their finals and grades, which means summer is upon us! Of course, we know that Vegas is a great place to soak up the sun. But soaking up the sun isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

While the sun gives us Vitamin D, necessary for that all-important bone health, it also gives off the far less benign ultraviolet (UV) radiation. One major effect of UV rays is developing skin cancer, which most people know. And too much unprotected exposure to UV can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and immune system. 

Skin cancer and damage to eyes and the immune system are the results of either indirect or direct deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage. Sadly, this DNA damage comes from too much soaking up of the sun! 

The indirect DNA damage is caused when the DNA and chromophores, which absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect and transmit others, absorb UVA and UVB photons, which are tiny energy packets of electromagnetic radiation (a type of radiation). The result? Skin lesions, abnormal bumps, patches, and changes in skin texture. 

But we’re not done yet. There is also direct DNA damage, which happens super quickly, within mere picoseconds (one trillionth of a second), when a photon of UV light hits DNA. This direct DNA damage happens when we get sunburn from either not applying enough sunscreen on those lazy beach days or getting too much UV exposure. 

The best advice? Stay in a shaded area and wear protective clothing outside, as tough as that might be in the Vegas heat. And if all else fails, wear sunscreen, which blocks the UV rays before they penetrate our skin. It also includes ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, helpful minerals that deflect the sun’s rays. Unfortunately, National Library of Medicine surveys show that 11% of adults do not wear sunscreen at all and only 13.5% wear sunscreen daily in the United States.

And to put even more of a damper on the Vegas weekend, it is recommended that people not drink alcohol. When alcohol is combined with sweating in the heat and frequent urination, heat strokes and dehydration are in your future. 

So let’s enter some cool pools, travel, and have a blast outside, but apply our sunscreen! Follow these suggestions and you’re sure to have the best summer!

Comments are closed.