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Don’t forget the sunscreen!

I forgot the sunscreen the other day. I thought because it was August that I would be okay. I wasn’t. I got burned. Nothing overly serious happened but it was enough to remind me that using sunscreen is crucial now more than ever.

When I was young, back in the olden days, people were coating their bodies with baby oil before they baked in the sun. They would also use foil wrapped pieces of cardboard to reflect the rays that had passed them by back to them.  It was important to have a beautiful tan. My how times have changed. We did use suntan lotion then. It was designed to encourage the development of a nice tan while minimally protecting the skin. Now we are paying attention to SPF numbers.

By the way, SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. I had to look that up. SPF is a measure of how long the sunscreen will protect you from the Ultra Violet (UV) B rays. Technically speaking, the bigger the number, the longer period of time you will be protected. It’s important to keep in mind that an accurate measurement doesn’t exist because the intensity of the sun’s rays will vary throughout the day, and in different geographical locations. That means it best to lather up for the worse case scenario. Better to be safe than sorry.

I found this on NASA website from 2010:

“NASA scientists analyzing 30 years of satellite data have found that the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth’s surface has increased markedly over the last three decades. Most of the increase has occurred in the mid-and-high latitudes, and there’s been little or no increase in tropical regions.”

Where are we now that it’s 8 years later? I’m not a scientist but I believe it’s safe to say that the situation is not improving. Like brushing our teeth, applying sunscreen needs to be part of our daily health care routine. Many moisturizing lotions now have a SPF rating. A good way to start, if you’re not doing this currently, is using one of those on a daily basis. One habit change equals soft skin and protection from the sun. Sounds good to me. Then if you’re going to be spending time outside add a layer of the heavy-duty stuff. Rain or shine. The sun shines on cloudy days. If you’re sweating or swimming re-apply the sunscreen as often as you can. Always use SPF 15 or higher.

I’m about to head out for a bike ride. I will be laying on the sunscreen before I head out the door. “Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.” That’s not exactly the quote, but you get the idea.

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