Sunbathing and sin aren’t two words that typically go together. While it’s only natural to kick back and relax in the sun, skin damage starts with your very first tan. And too much can be deadly.
How can something that seems so fun and harmless be this serious?
Before throwing cold water on your outdoor fun, check out these facts about sunbathing.
Let’s dive in!
These 7 Sins of Sunbathing May Be Deadly
Sunbathing is the practice of lying down or sitting in direct sunlight. Some people sunbathe to get a tan. And others do it to unwind. In fact, five to fifteen minutes of sunbathing without sunscreen every day can be good for you.
But people tend to lose track of time when hanging out under the sun. While the sun boosts your happy serotonin hormones, it breaks down skin fibers. But that effect is so subtle that we don’t take sunbathing sins seriously.
And that’s just the beginning.
The most common cancer in America is skin cancer. About 9,500 of us are diagnosed every day. And sunbathing’s a significant way people get melanoma and other common skin cancers.
Also, people are more likely to make poor decisions when they spend too much time in the sun. College students in hot states like Arizona lay out, drink, pass out, and then die on their beach chairs. They literally fry to death. Although this problem happened more in the 80s when women were told to use sun tan lotion, it still happens today.
Aside from staying out of the sun in the middle of the day, you can do plenty to be safe. Just don’t do any of these seven sunbathing sins.
Pro Tip: Enjoy sunbathing while beach camping. Just don’t commit any of these Don’ts of Beach Camping.
#1 Indoor Tanning
It might seem sexy to spend time in a tanning bed. But the needle leans more towards deadly. We’re not saying that one snoozing in a tanning bed will turn you into a mummy. But the fact is that they raise your risk of skin cancer.
According to skincancer.org, your chances of getting melanoma increase by 75% if you use tanning beds before age 35. And indoor tanning causes injuries! Just ask your emergency room friends how many people they treat who pass out or get severe burns from them.
#2 Tanning to Get Vitamin D
Everyone needs vitamin D. It helps build bones and ward off depression. And without enough vitamin D, you are at higher risk for serious diseases like osteoporosis and cancer.
Sun exposure is an easy way to get a dose of vitamin D, but that doesn’t mean you should tan to get your vitamins. Tanning happens from UVA rays, whereas D comes from UVB rays. And tanning’s much more dangerous than it’s worth.
Try eating vitamin D-rich foods like salmon, tofu, or fortified orange juice instead of this sunbathing sin. And be sure D is included in your daily vitamin supplements.
#3 Failing to Cover Up
Have you ever noticed what people wear during those desert landscape scenes in the movies? Warriors and heroes are covered up in light, thin cloth with cool sunglasses. Because without proper sun protection, they wouldn’t survive!
Protecting yourself from ultraviolet rays has become so important that we can now buy UV-protective clothing. Just look for the UPF label. Otherwise, always wear a hat and sunglasses when you’re out in the sun. Choose loose-fitting clothing made from tightly woven fabrics.
When you wear the right gear, a lovely lounge by the pool can be perfectly safe!
#4 Not Using Sunscreen
If you take away nothing but one thing from our list of sunbathing sins, it should be to wear sunscreen. All humans on earth should be using sunscreen every day!
There are different kinds of sunscreen. You want to use mineral sunscreen and avoid chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate since they can enter your bloodstream. But either way, look for broad-spectrum brands and reapply every two hours.
According to skincancer.org, daily use of face moisturizer with SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of certain cancers by up to 50%. It’ll also help reduce wrinkles, sagging, and age spots caused by the sun. Your dermatologist can recommend a more detailed daily regimen during your annual skin cancer screenings.
#5 Spending Too Much Time in the Sun
We all have different skin tones and levels of sun tolerance. So when your aunt Mrytle spends every day at the beach and looks great on her eightieth birthday, don’t use this as a free pass. Experts say sunbathing should be restricted to 15 to 30 minutes a day. Sure, some people never get skin cancer from too much sun exposure. But do you want to be on the other side of that?
Too much sun early in life can show up as melanoma later. And even in the short term, you can get heat rash, headaches, muscle weakness, and a nasty sunburn. So even out your day by dipping into the shade at least 75% of the time.
Pro Tip: Get your daily dose of vitamins by enjoying a glass of one of these Best Orange Juice Brands of 2023.
#6 Forgetting to Drink Water
Holy hydration, batman! It’s incredible how often people forget to drink water, especially when having a great time at a pool party or drinking alcohol. But spending time under the sun dries you out. So avoid this sunbathing sin by drinking water throughout the day.
Most doctors will tell you to drink eight glasses of water per day. But if that seems too dull, add a little apple or orange juice to your glass. Eating fruits like watermelon and strawberries can help. And believe it or not, spicy food! The sweat created from disgesting cayenne pepper can help cool your body.
#7 Not Getting Skin Exams
If you’re not already getting annual skin exams, don’t worry. You can start tomorrow! And the exam’s easy. You’ll be seen by a dermatologist and asked a few questions about your family history of cancer. If you’ve noticed any changes in moles, freckles, or spots, they’ll start the exam by assessing those.
Skin screenings are preventative care that can detect cancer before it spreads. And according to most health officials, you should start your annual screenings in your twenties or thirties.
So, Can You Avoid Sunbathing Sins?
You can easily avoid these seven deadly sunbathing sins and still enjoy everything the sun has to offer. It’s perfectly safe to sunbathe for a few minutes with good sunscreen and a big hat. And you can hang out poolside as long as you drink loads of water and spend some time in the shade.
Enjoy the beach! Play with the kids in the sprinkler! But whatever you do, avoid that tanning bed.
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