When some think of spring break, they may think of road trips, sleeping in and hitting the beach. Corpus Christi and Padre Island are optimal places for students to let loose, have fun and maybe try to get a killer tan, but not many will realize the risk they’re taking and the damage that can do to their skin.
Sun exposure can lead to sunburns, and while the pain is felt and the redness can be seen, damage from the sun goes further than just blisters and peeling. A sunburn can occur in as little as 20 minutes of sun exposure and can age skin and increase the risk of getting skin cancer. So when packing for a day outdoors, at the beach or in general, throw in some sunscreen — and use it.
“I tend to get a bit red if out too long. (Sunscreen is) a life saver to have when out at the beach because I hate peeling and the feeling when I have to lift my arms and I have sunburn on them,” said Del Mar College student Devina Moreno.
Sunscreen can come in sprays, lotion or gel forms and either blocks or absorbs ultraviolet radiation, which is what causes the burns. It’s recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) from anywhere between 15 and 50. To use it correctly, apply it liberally and often.
“I wear sunscreen mostly at the beach and mostly to avoid getting sunburned or headaches. I get them when I’m out too long in the sun,” said Daniel Soliz.
Sunscreen isn’t just for special occasions; it should be used whenever there will be prolonged exposure to sunlight. According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnological Information, only about 3 in 10 adults routinely practices sun-protection behaviors.
“I use sunscreen when I know I’ll be outside for an hour or more. The Texas sun is a beast and people need to know more about what it can do to your melanocytes,” said Florencio Cortez. “I realize ‘you gotta burn before you tan’ is a common saying in Texas but almost any sunburn runs the risk of developing into skin cancer. I say 2 minutes of applying the sunscreen to prevent a lifetime of cancer treatment is undeniably worth the time.”
So before basking in the sun and working on that killer tan, take a second to consider the consequences. A spring day hanging out with friends can be great, but don’t let a good time turn into a medical nightmare.