SPF: Sunny Problems I Face
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Health and Wellness

SPF: Sunny Problems I Face

SPF: Sunny Problems I Face

My pale body gleams in the morning light. I must get some color. Grab a towel, some snacks and hit the parkway. 

Yes, I’m headed to the Jersey Shore, where I will see less guidos than one might think, though I certainly may see a few if I hit Seaside Heights instead of LBI. Lay out, put some music on, jump in the frigid June water when it gets too hot. In my mind, an internal debate begins that will span the day: to sunscreen or not to sunscreen.

If I put on sunscreen, I will remain the sickly being I am now. SPF 50, SPF 30, SPF 15, all leave me craving that bronzed goddess look that comes so quickly to others. So, sometimes, I don’t put on sunscreen. I make excuses: I’m still drying from my dip in the ocean, it’s a little overcast outside, no one else is putting any on, I could really use some vitamin D – vitamins are good for you! 

My excuses are worthless, and I burn despite them. The fact is, sunscreen is necessary. It saves lives. But that’s hard to remember when I’m trying to look good. Sunscreen helps prevent sunburn, skin aging and skin cancer. Over 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed in more than 2 million people every year, according to the American Cancer Society. 

But I’m just a kid, and life is a nightmare. I just want a little tan, and I don’t know for sure that I’ll get cancer if I do. So, I cheat. I put on sunscreen once and call it quits. I don’t reapply after I go in the water. I don’t cover my face when it starts burning. I tell my mom when she yells at me when I get home that I don’t know what happened – I put on sunscreen! 

Tanning, like most things in life, is a case of immediate gratification. We all want it now. I want my food now. I want to watch this movie right now. I don’t want to wait. I want to be tan. But, slow and steady wins the rest. No hurries, no worries. It’ll happen when it happens. 

The smart thing to do, the responsible thing to do, is to protect myself as best I can – put on SPF 30 on my most burn-prone areas like my chest and back. Put SPF 50 on my delicate little face. Maybe just SPF 15 on my legs and arms, since they have had sun exposure throughout the spring. Wait and let my cells produce their melanin on their own time. I can get a tan gradually without the searing pain of burns and without the future possibility of skin cancer. 

All it really takes is a little patience and responsibility, with a dash of foresight. I’ll settle for sun kissed and leave the bronzed goddess look for my Italian friend, Ashley, who doesn’t have my freckly complexion. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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