Photo created by bearfotos www.freepik.com
Memorial Day weekend usually means fun in the sun, time with family, and a preview of the summer to come. But it also means the observance of National Sunscreen Day, aka Don’t Fry Day. Created by the National Council on Skin Care Prevention, National Sunscreen Day is always observed on the Friday before Memorial Day. So, this year we will observe the holiday on Friday, May 22nd, 2020.
The Council provides promotional materials and resources to promote this day. Many local businesses and municipal organizations also get involved to promote awareness. But why is the Don’t Fry message so important? Isn’t going outside and enjoying the sunshine good for our bodies?
Sunlight is essential for the human body. When sunlight shines on our skin, it motivates our bodies to convert cholesterol to vitamin D, a very important vitamin for our bodies which is hard to come by in our diets. It’s estimated that 40% of American adults have a vitamin D deficiency. So, it certainly seems like we could all do with some serious time in the sun.
However, exposure to sunlight can also expose us to serious health risks. The UV radiation found in sunlight damages the skin cells. Over time, this damage can accumulate and create skin cancer. It will also cause spotting, wrinkles, and rough patches on the skin. There is no such thing as a safe tan, even from tanning beds, anyone is susceptible to sun damage, no matter how much melanin naturally occurs in their skin. This problem is so prevalent that currently, 1 in 5 people will develop some form of skin cancer by age 70. So much for a “healthy glow.”
Don’t Fry Day aka National Sunscreen Day is the perfect opportunity to teach good habits to kids regarding sun exposure and protection. Parents can teach proper application techniques, how to limit sun exposure, and how to recognize warning signs. Here are a few tips from us at Best Brains!
- Sunscreen needs to be reapplied throughout your time in the sun, at least every two hours, and again after excessive sweating or swimming.
- Do not use tanning beds. Ever. They are very unsafe for your skin and there are alternatives like spray tans which can give you the same effect.
- Check yourself and your family’s skin every week in the summertime, and report any moles or dark spots to your family doctor. These will have to be monitored over time to check for growth or discoloration.
The most important message of National Sunscreen Day is that the risks posed by sun exposure can be mitigated with sunscreen and mindfulness. So, get out there and safely enjoy the sunshine!