Health Watch - Vices: Sunlight

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about vices that can harm your health. Something doesn’t have to be illegal or immoral to be a health-harming vice. Sometimes, something essential to life can also be hazardous to your health if you aren’t careful.

There would be no life on earth without the sun, but if you overexpose yourself to the sun while trying to get a tan, you’re increasing your risk for skin cancer. Dr. Rohit Sharma, a surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center who specializes in skin cancer, says overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. That makes sunbathing and maintaining a dark tan into a potentially deadly vice. You should avoid sun tanning or using tanning beds. If you want to add color to your skin, use a sunless self-tanner. When you’re outdoors, cover your exposed skin with sunblock or wear protective clothing, like a hat with a broad brim to shield your face.

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April 2011


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