Friday, 2 July 2010

Sun tans - today's burning issue

It seems to me that at long last the message is getting home to people that it pays to avoid over exposure to the sun. It must be the fear of skin cancer that has tipped the balance because the pain of sunburn used to be the price you risked for acquiring a “nice tan.”
During the current hot spell I see more people wearing hats and in the parks hugging the shade offered by trees. There are fewer simmering in the sun's full glare.
Children in buggies likewise seem better protected. The recent case of a negligent mother allowing her young baby to suffer serious burns while on Brighton beach hit the headlines – and the next day London’s prams were wrapped in protective towels and blankets.
The biggest clue to the increased care people are taking in the sun is there seems to be fewer lobster pink-faced people around than would have been the case with heat waves a few years ago.
I’ve never understood the concept of a healthy tan. Tanning is the skin’s response to protecting itself from the damage caused by the sun’s rays. Having once been burnt badly as a child I’ve treated the sun with respect.
There’s a whole social history about how fair-skinned toffs set the fashion around 100 years ago when they realised that a tan denoted leisure – and therefore another way to advertise their wealth. Prior to that a tan meant, as often as not, that you were an agricultural worker.
Here’s not the place to expound my views on global warming and the dangers present in the thinning of the ozone layer. But I will repeat my opinion that we need to change the UK’s time zone to let more sunshine into our lives.

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What do you think? GC