Fun in the Sun

By Marin Helppie-Schmieder
Distinguished Young Woman of Texas for 2012

 
Y’all, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Well, I guess it’s not that much of a secret since I know I am not the only one thinking it. Anyways, here it is: I am so completely and utterly excited for summer! It is definitely going to be bittersweet with the school year coming to a close, and having to depart from my friends for three months, but that’s a completely different story! So, getting back on track to summer.
 
For a lot of students, summer means working at a job, or maybe taking a couple of courses for school credit. However, it also means being with family and friends and having ‘fun in the sun’- which brings me to the main point of this blog post: The Sun (didn’t see that one coming, did you?)
 
While summer is such a happy and fun season, it is also very important for young women and men to be informed on the effects of overexposure from the Sun. I know there is and will always be a trend towards “getting the perfect tan,” but it’s important for the younger generations to be aware of what a “perfect tan” really means for the body in the long run. 
 
The Skin Cancer Foundation has stated that this year, “1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer,” as well as, “about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.” Also, did you know skin cancer is “the most common form of cancer in the United States?” Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy time out in the sunshine.  For me personally, there’s nothing better than a hot summer day outside with a good book and some sweet tea! However, that means alongside my tea and book is my handy-dandy SPF 30.
 
Other precautions a person can take to stay proactive is not spending too much time outside when the Sun is at its highest point in the sky. Also, I’m a personal fan of cute hats! They protect the sensitive parts of the face (eyes and nose) while being fashionably trendy at the same time!
 
Like I said before, summer is such a great time to be outdoors and to have fun. However, if you’d like to continue the outdoor activities for years to come, take some precautionary measures for your health. The “perfect tan” might be great for a while, but it would be a shame if that tan cost you some health issues later down the road. 
 
So, before you go to take a dip in the pool, or play a game of soccer, or simply relax, lather up! I promise it will be well worth it in the long run and there will also be no possibility of getting a terrible, achy sunburn. I know when I board the airplane to go home to the Texas heat this summer, I’ll have my sunscreen and hat packed. But the question is, will you? 
 
 
Marin Helppie-Schmieder is a college freshman at the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania majoring in Modern Dance. Originally from Carrollton, Texas, Marin was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Texas for 2012. Learn more about Marin here!

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