NEW JERSEY, USA - JUNE 26: An aerial view is seen as people enjoy warm weather at the Long Branch beach in southern New Jersey, United States on June 26, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

We’ve officially passed the halfway point of the Summer of 2022. When we were Central Jersey kids in the eighties and nineties, we would slather baby oil all over our bodies and layout in the sun to get “some color.” We’d hold a mirrored board towards our face to reflect and enhance the beautifying rays of the sun as it soaked deeply into our beautiful unprotected epidermis. This repeated practice created a complexion that was surely going to be adored and admired by all who viewed our fabulous veneer. Or so we thought. We had a love affair with the sun and, as with many relationships, we got burned.

Today our love affair with the sun has become more of a love/hate relationship. We want the sun for its warming qualities, we enjoy the sun for creating beautiful days and beautiful memories, and let’s not forget all that free vitamin D.

However, we are constantly reminded of the negative effects of the sun. Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen! This is nothing new. More than twenty years ago Baz Luhrmann told us, “If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it,” at the beginning of his hit song, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).”

So slather on some sunscreen about fifteen minutes before you go out in the sun, and reapply every one and a half to two hours.

Here’s something I didn’t know, there are two types of ultraviolet rays that can cause harm, UVA and UVB. So be sure to get “broad spectrum” sunscreen which protects from both. Something else you may be aware of, many clothing companies offer UV blocking clothes as well. You’re also at risk of sunburn and need UV protection on cloudy days and snowy days. SPF 30 or higher is recommended.

So there’s the risk of sunburn, heat stroke, and melanoma. However, if you use protection, as with any relationship, you can have a safe and happy day on the beach, at the park, on your deck, at the pool or anywhere the sun shines.