Schools out! Summer sunshine is here. But don't leave the house without your sunglasses, brimmed hat, and sunscreen. Why bother? Because despite the sun's beneficial effects on our mood, even a small amount of daily exposure can lead to skin damage and cancer. Learn more with these five best-bet sites for summer sun safety.
"In the late 1920s, chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (or CFCs) were invented. These chemicals were not poisonous and didn't harm fabrics, plants or people. Companies thought they were great and used them in refrigerators, air conditioners, Styrofoam packaging, and spray cans." But in the 1970s, scientists discovered that fifty years of CFC usage had harmed the earth's ozone layer, exposing us to harmful UV rays. This illustrated one-page article is a good introduction to the long term environmental and human damage caused by CFCs.
"This web site will help you learn more about the harmful effects of the sun and teach you ways to protect yourself. With fun activities like the Who Wants to Be SunWise trivia game and action steps, such as wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, you will learn simple steps to protect yourself." Best clicks are the games in Survivor Challenges, and the explanation of the UV Index. Teachers can sign up for free classroom materials by clicking on SunWise Home, and following the Schools link.
Sunshine, from the research department of L'Oreal cosmetics, is my pick of the day. Divided into five sections, Sunshine starts with an excellent explanation of the short- and long-term effects of sun exposure. Next it delves into our body's natural defenses (the production of melanin, the tanning pigment) skin types, and sun solutions. This site is so good, every page is a best click! If any of the scientific words stump you, you'll find a glossary link at the bottom of every page.
"Rise and shine, but beware. Invisible within that warm sunshine lurks the evil Ultraviolet. That's why I'm here: SunGuard Man!" Watch five animated episodes of SunGuard Man, and as he battles evil, you will learn how to protect yourself from the sun's damaging rays. Then take time to play the arcade games. I liked both Save Your Skin and Avoiding Ultraviolet. Teachers can download free curriculum about our skin, in exchange for their email address and some details about their school and classroom.
When I was a teen growing up on the California beach, we greased ourselves with baby oil to attract the sun's rays. My mother told me not to, but that didn't stop me. Maybe reading this article (since it wasn't written by your mother) will help get the point across that tanning is not healthy. In fact, our culture's tanning infatuation is rather new. Years ago being pale was a sign of wealth, because only those who labored outside were bronzed by the sun.