The Beach, the Sun, and Skin Cancer

I love the beach and playing in the water as much as anyone, and just returned from a 4 day trip. The picture here are the waves on the second day. They were wild! The sun is another story. We know today exactly how damaging it can be and yet it is amazing how people will still ‘bake’ in the sun unprotected. There are SPF sunscreens in every possible strength and can be targeted at certain people like babies or activities such as sport lotions that you won’t sweat off.

I recently read a story about sun addiction and how you can be addicted to laying out in it for hours. In fact, endorphins, the mood-lifting chemicals produced in your body when you lay out in the sun are the same that make you feel good when you eat chocolate, exercise or have sex. It’s not all in our head ladies!

So feeling good and looking great – a tan is commonly associated with a healthy, beautiful look – are great draws to the sun. However, the sun can be and is deadly for many people. Some skin cancer survivors still find it hard to stay out of the sun but most have been woken up with the reality of ongoing tests and scans to make sure it doesn’t come back. The threat is always there.

The sun is a good source of vitamin D, and on the other side of getting too much sun are people that get NO sun because they don’t have one un-protected moment. They apply sunscreen from head to toe anytime they are outdoors. There has been a recent increase in the rate of people deficient in vitamin D. Doctors are prescribing high doses of supplements for patients to avoid a list of health challenges associated with being deficient.

I think we have to be smart and manage our time in the sun. We certainly have preventive measures and more knowledge about the benefits and risks than ever before. And we have choices the same as we have in all areas of our physical health. We can build good health and still enjoy what we like!

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