The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Don’t Forget The Sunscreen!


  A recurring problem that everyone, including San Luis Obispo High School students and staff, face is attempting to limit over-exposure with the California summer sun.

Having a natural tan is something that many aspire to, but is it truly worth it? Expressions set out to ask a few SLOHS students and staff what their thoughts are on tanning.

Expressions: What do you like about tanning?

Science teacher Moira Milich: I enjoy being in the sun because I like the warmth, I like to have some color to my skin, and it overall just makes me feel healthy. I also know that being in the sun allows my body to produce vitamin D, which is necessary and not provided many other ways (unless you take supplements).

2020 graduate Sage Cannon: I like sun tanning because I’m able to be out at the beach or outside and of course getting a good tan is always nice.

2020 graduate Jayde Malzone: What I like about tanning is that it makes me tan, and I like being tan. It’s also really relaxing.

Expressions: What do you not like about sun tanning?

Milich: I don’t like spending too much time in the sun because although I like being warm, I don’t like being hot. Also, although it makes me feel healthy, I know that there is a lot of damage being done to my body by the intense UV rays – from minor aesthetic issues like wrinkles and that familiar “leathery” appearance of skin, to the very serious and real risk of developing melanoma.

Cannon: It isn’t the best thing you could be doing for you body.

Malzone: There’s nothing I don’t like about tanning. Except maybe when you sunburn or when you do your fake tan wrong. 

Expressions: Have you ever tried tanning?

Milich: Of course I used to tan as a teenager and through my college years. I stopped when I got a full time job (which leaves little time for hanging out by the pool, lake or ocean), and I became educated about the risk of melanoma. 

Cannon: Yes because I really like the look of it, and spending time outside to get a tan.

Malzone: I just have always been and outdoors person and I like when I get tan from being outdoors. I also found how relaxing it can be to just lay out all day. 

Expressions: Is there anything that you would advise SLOHS students about sun tanning?

Milich: I would advise them to educate themselves – get some sun, but protect yourself from too much exposure. Know what your individual risk of developing skin cancer is and know that, although melanoma primarily affects older individuals, the damage is done when you are younger. Also, educate yourself about sunscreen. There is a lot of recent research on some of the chemicals being used in them and the safety of them.

Cannon: Make sure to wear sunscreen and stay protected when tanning.

Malzone: I would tell SLOHS students to wear sunscreen because you don’t want skin cancer and to always check for melanomas.

Expressions: Since not everyone can avoid the sun, what precautions would you recommend SLOHS students take in order to damage their skin the least?

Milich: Obviously, the best thing to do is to cover as much of your body as you can with sunscreen and UV reflective clothing. Wear hats. Wear sunglasses (the sun damages your eyes as well). Even though you might not think you are getting a lot of sun, you are – so be prepared. You can still be exposed to large amounts of UV rays even if it’s cloudy.

Cannon: I would say wear sunscreen, bring a towel to cover your face and seek shade if your exposed to harsh rays.

Malzone: Some precautions for real [sun] tanning that I would recommend is that definitely wear sunscreen all the time, like every day when you wake up put on sunscreen. And to always be checking your body for abnormal freckles. With fake tanning, I actually recommend it, but only the tanning lotions. The tanning lotions aren’t really harmful in my opinion; they only last a few days and just coat the dermis of your skin, which is constantly shedding. I don’t recommend tanning beds though, but spray tans could be good.

  As you prepare to lay out under the sun rays during this summer break, think of whether or not you will have any true short-term benefits and if you are risking your health for the future. Take the necessary precautions to benefit you health, you will thank yourself later.

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