Skin Cancer: The sun's ultra-deadly rays This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   We are always at risk for skin cancer. Even whenwe don't think about it, our skin is absorbing dangerous rays that mayresult in skin cancer years down the road. By the age of 18, most peoplehave received 80 percent of the sun exposure they should have in alifetime. Almost 50 percent will have some type of skin cancer by thetime they are 65. One serious sunburn can increase the risk of skincancer by 50 percent. This is a frighteningly high figure, and shouldencourage us to protect ourselves with sunscreen. Skin cancer can takeup to 20 years to develop.

Because of the depletion of theEarth's ozone layer, the ultraviolet rays are stronger than they used tobe. While your genes can determine how your skin reacts, everyone shouldbe careful. Climate and altitude also contribute to the strength ofultraviolet rays.

Even if you rarely sunburn, sensitive areassuch as the lips, nose and palms should always be protected. Althoughthere are many ways to prevent exposure, many ignore the facts. Mostthink the best hours to sunbathe are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. In fact,the sun is strongest and most harmful then. Also, many people don't usesunscreen when it is cloudy, and usually don't reapply it after swimmingor playing sports. Try to remember to use sunscreen with an SPF of atleast 15 every two hours. If it's very hot and sunny, wear a hat toshield your face. Never use sunlamps or tanning parlors, since their UVrays can be stronger than the sun.

Many teenagers think agolden-bronze tan looks great, but they don't realize the risk they aretaking with their health. Wearing sunscreen and protecting your body isanother way to show you care about yourself and your future. Hopefully,teens will realize that a great tan is not as important as a longhealthy life.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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