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Sunlight activates our skin to manufacture vitamin D. Too much of a good thing is bad when the ultraviolet light causes toxic reactions in people who have consumed "sun sensitive" medication. These drugs increases your sensitivity to sunlight and you'll burn in double quick time without your knowledge. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain the side effects of your drugs.

Skin cancer is on the rise due to the depleting ozone layer that in earlier days had acted as a shield against harmful ultraviolet rays. You aren't safe by using artificial light. Strong tanning lamps emit light that triggers cancerous cells. The other alternative is not fail-safe but it offers some assurance of safety. Limit your tanning exposure and keep a regulated safe distance away from the lamp when in use. Wear goggles to protect your eyes.

Sun-tanning isn't limited to pool-side time. We get sun-tanned the minute we step outdoors. The intensity of tanning depends on personal factors like age, skin color, clothing worn, occupation and geographical location relative to the sun.

The prevailing weather also influences the amount of ultraviolet light penetrating our atmosphere. Contrary to belief, cloudy skies actually allow more radiation to pass through.

An outdoor occupation tans the skin more. Such unwitting sun-tanners can do well to take precautions not to wear white and bright colored clothing as those reflect sunlight onto the wearer's face.

Before engaging in outdoor sports and recreational pursuits, put on your protective armor. Wear dark shades of colors but avoid black as you'll fry in black. Invest in a good pair of sun glasses that block ultraviolet rays. Always look through your sun glasses. The other alternative is to buy a wraparound style that shields your eyes completely. Be aware that ultraviolet rays cause cataracts.

The farmer was smart to wear a wide brim hat. Learn from him. Sunburn causes premature skin aging like wrinkles. If you are going to be exposed to the elements for a long time, it's wise to take some refuge in sunscreen. Slap on just sufficient amount. Don't cake yourself in that stuff. Chemicals will be chemicals and over-exposure to sunscreen is bad.

Healthy sun-tanning doesn't mean tanning under moderately hot sunshine. There's a risk of getting burned long before you feel the intensity of the heat.

Dark skinned people may not chuckle with glee. Skin's natural melanin offers only limited protection against radiation. One can actually burn before noticing it because dark skin is deceptively hard to figure.

Healthy sun-tanning is smart sun-tanning. Avoid the dangerous midmorning to mid-afternoon sun. You may think it's a quickie way to a bronze tan but you may end up lobster-red with ugly, peeling skin. Don't sun-tan and sleep. You'll be unconsciously burned.

Tanning by the pool-side is a bad idea. Water, cement and sand reflect ultraviolet light to give you a double dose of radiation.

Dry yourself immediately after your dip and reapply sunscreen. Water reduces the lotion's effectiveness no matter how water-proof or sweat-proof the ad touts it to be.

After your dry soak in the sun, hit the shower to scrub off dead skin cells exfoliated. Take care not to scrub yourself raw while toweling dry. Check your pigmented areas (birthmarks, moles and blemishes) for any changes. Continue checking for several days after your holiday in the sun. Any changes or sore that persists spell trouble and you should head for your doctor promptly.

If your sunburn is only skin-deep, you can buy burn relief cream from the pharmacy. You can also use wet compresses, cool showers and non-cosmetic moisturizers. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body, especially skin cells. If you think you are barbecued, then run to your doctor for more professional treatment.