Summertime always brings the back and forth debate about the sun and the dangers it poses to the forefront of everyone’s mind. This is helped along by the plethora of sunscreen commercials that play on television during this time of year.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the sun and its effects, both good and ill. Let’s start with the bad news.  As anyone who has spent any time in the sun knows, too much sun causes painful sunburn. However, worse than that is  overexposure to the sun’s rays can increase your risk of getting certain kinds of skin cancer.

Those are obviously not good things. The best way to guard against those kinds of threats is to invest in a good broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.  For optimal protection, you’ll want to apply your sunscreen 15-30 minutes before venturing outside for a day of fun. Be sure to take time to re-apply it at two-hour intervals.

Note that in addition to protecting from the threats outlined above, a good sunscreen will also help protect your skin from the aging effects caused by the sun.  If you want to keep your young, healthy-looking skin, good sunscreen protection is a must if you go outside.

Having said all that, the simple truth is that you don’t want to actively hide from the sun.  After all, sunlight is essential to generating vitamin D in our bodies.

The catch is that if you’re wearing sunscreen, then the sun’s rays won’t trigger vitamin D production in your body, so it’s a good idea to spend at least fifteen to twenty minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen.  Taking that approach will give you the best of both worlds, so grab your hat, grab your sunscreen and go enjoy the day!