The sun comes out and students play, but be careful!

Everyone’s favorite season of the year has finally graced the College’s campus with its presence once again. As evidenced by the beautiful weather we had last week, the spring sun has come out to play, spreading its warm rays and shining down upon us.

Students have naturally been quite receptive to this positive change in the weather, emerging from the depths of the Library to study in Alumni Grove and leaving the Bio Commons in favor of the fountain in the Science Complex. This interaction is  most certainly a two-way street. As spring flirts with us, inviting us outdoors into nature’s abode, we flirt back, showing lots of skin from our heads down to our toes.

However, like everything that seems too good to be true, this interaction should be taken with a grain of salt. As I’ve seen quite a bit of painful red mixed in with the green grass this past week, it seems that many of you are recklessly throwing yourself into this relationship without taking heed. This red is sunburn, the inflammation and peeling of the skin caused by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Sitting inside all winter and then going to sit outside on a nice spring day leaves one especially vulnerable to sunburn. With that said, here are some not so well known facts about the sunburn that emphasized its severity and encourage you to cover up!

Stay golden — not lobster-red —pony boy. (AP Photo)

1. Sunburn can cause melanoma, which is the worst form of skin cancer. Not only can it be fatal, but it is also the fastest spreading form of cancer. Melanoma can be identified by dark freckles on the skin, clearly visible to the naked eye. Fair skinned individuals are particularly susceptible to melanoma.

2. Sunburn can also lead to actinic keratosis, which causes growths on a person’s hands, face and forehead. Although these growths tend to be non-cancerous, a doctor should immediately be consulted on their appearance.

3. Repeated sunburns can cause cataracts, which lead to an impairment in vision. It also leads to other eye diseases, such as macular degeneration.

4. Sunburns accelerate premature aging of the skin, leading to the early appearance of wrinkles and age spots.

5. Sunburn can trigger precancerous growths.

6. Sunburn comprises the immune system. There is a negative correlation between sunburn and the effectiveness of white blood cells. People with darker skin are more susceptible.

As shown by the consequences listed above, sunburn is serious business. This is why I encourage you not to be so quick in committing yourself to a serious relationship with the spring sun. Instead, have a fling with spring!