Why should we need sunscreen now? Is it because we have moved from an outdoor lifestyle to an indoor lifestyle? Has the thickness/durability of our skin been rendered thinner/weaker by our ability to build shelter from the sun’s rays? Has evolution decided that we don’t need any new physical advantages, with regards to UV rays?
What about our primate fur, way back then? (like, hundreds of thousands of years ago…) What happened to that, eh? I bet that used to protect us from burning. Is it that the climate started getting hotter, and we started to go bald because the fur was making us too hot and sweaty? Lets be honest, compared with other animals we humans are pretty bald, aren’t we? Well, compared to the other monkeys we are, anyway… Why haven’t they shed their fur? If we shed our fur because of the extra heat, then this sunburn malarkey is kinda ironic, isn’t it? (Alanis Morrisette-ironic, at least…)
Do hippos get sunburn? They’re rather bald, aren’t they? A quick Google search has told me that hippos ARE susceptible, but that they have this red sweat thing that stops them from burning … why hasn’t human evolution developed a superpower like that? Pfft.
Google also told me that freshly sheared sheep are in a bad position, sunburn-wise, when it’s hot. It reminded that there’s a flock of sheep in a field close to where I live who were shaved recently, and this week has been roasting. I wanna go see if they’ve gone pink! Poor sods.
Apparently the Ancient Greeks would use olive oil, back in the day, to protect themselves from the sun. The science today says that olive oil offers between 7-8 SPF factor protection, and that coconut oil is similarly protective! In my Google journey, though, a few people claimed that if the sun is too hot then the oil will just heat up and burn our skin even worse (which is the fake news?).
When Did it All Begin, Then? (Sunscreen, that is…)
Well, historians only really know as far back as Ancient Egypt (anything before that is considered ‘pre-historic’). It is believed that Ancient Egyptians used ingredients like rice, jasmine, and lupine as sunscreen, so the notion of sun protection goes back as far as historians have managed to figure out, at least.
But what about before that? I mean, there must have been a time when we didn’t need to protect ourselves… surely?! Evolutionary theory suggests that we used to be reptiles once upon a time, so our scales would have protected us back then… And later in our journey it was our fur… so why do we no longer have a protection? What’s that all about?!
I think the indoor theory is a good one: we spend so much time indoors that we aren’t acclimatised enough to the environment of the outdoors. So, when the hottest day of the year comes around, and we all suddenly decide that outside is the place to be, our sheltered skin simply isn’t prepared for the heat.
It’s Prim Up North
The North-West of England has been bloody beautiful this last month! We had maybe one week’s worth of rain and wind; but other than that it’s been glorious, summery conditions – foreign country style, summery! There are very few people up here who don’t appreciate the sun turning up like this for longer than a day or two … and it seems so rare that summer works out this way for us that I, personally, can’t help but appreciate the heck out of it 🙂
A sublime summer, sure … but us Northerners will always find something to complain about (thus my bitterness surrounding sunscreen, I guess). Nonetheless, it’s a stunning time of year for us.
I do have this inkling feeling, though, that England’s inevitable elimination from the World Cup (let’s be honest!) is going to coincide with a rainy end to the summer. Now that would give us something to complain about!!
But forget about that for now – and pass me the sunscreen! We should make the most of this spell, however long it lasts; and when the memory of it is washed away by the autumn rain, we can just retreat back into our 21st century caves…