As most of us know, the largest organ in the human body is our skin. It covers the entirety of our body, composed of 3 layers; the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis (being ordered from superifical to deep).
Because skin is the largest organ, it’s exposed to a lot in our surrounding environment. The integumentary system serves three main functions; protection, regulation, and sensation. The skin protects the body from harmful exposures by acting as a barrier. In terms of sensation, the skin contains nerve cells and receptors, which are responsible for detecting pain, temperature, touch, etc. Lastly, the skin is responsible for regulating our body temperature and also is a vitamin D reservior for the synthesis of vitmain D.
Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, is important for many body processes. So when it comes to sitting out in the sun, or catching some rays as they say, how can we protect ourselves from overdoing the sun exposure? And what are some other ways we’re harming our skin and increasing our risk of skin cancer? Let’s see if my medical knowledge serves me justice so I can share facts, tips, and my knowledge with you!
I know for me, the most important thing is to use sunscreen in the summer – especially if I’m going to be out in the sun for quite some time. In the winter times, or the times where the sun isn’t as strong or I’m not in the sun for as long, it’s still important to use a moisturizer (or even your foundation for all you makeup gurus out there) with spf in it.
If you know me, or have met me/seen me in person, you know that I’m literally pale as pale can be. I mean, I’ve got a joke going around with my friends that I’m literally as pale as Casper the Friendly Ghost. I’m also 100% certain that it’s impossible for me to tan; I go from being Casper to a tomato. I blame my English/British heritage for my tanning struggles. But with all that being said, using tanning bed is another way to get skin cancer. The UV rays emitted from the tanning bed is very harmful and damaging to the skin. Also, this is something that would be done over a significant period of time.
So next time you think about going tanning, apply suncreen (and use sunglasses to protect your eyes!!) But if you’re anything like me, a spray tan may be your best option.
Alex Newton is a nursing student and mental health advocate. She grew up in a small town and plans on moving to London, England one day and open up her own health practice. She has a cat named Maya who she adopted whilst going through some difficulties. She’s a daughter, sister, and warrior who enjoys a nice cuppa tea.