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Why You Should Worry About Sunburn
Most people know that sunburns are unpleasant and can even be extremely painful if they are bad enough. Majority of people even know that it is important to protect against sunburn not only because it could hurt, but because it is good for your skin.
What a lot of people don’t know is why they should try to prevent themselves from becoming sunburned. Sunburn prevention is marketed and talked about a lot by sunscreen companies trying to sell their products, and those in the medical profession. We’re going to go over the reasons it is important for you to take the right steps in preventing sunburn.
What is Sunburn?
Everyone knows what a sunburn is, but what most people don’t realize is what a sunburn really is, as in what it physically does to the skin.
When skin is overexposed to UV radiation, most commonly from the sun, the living tissue of the skin literally begins to burn. When UV radiation hits the skin it begins to do DNA damage. The pain from a sunburn is thought to be caused by the production of the CXCL5 protein that activates nerve fibers, which send messages to the brain of pain. Imagine watching a fresh steak cooking under the broiler in an oven. It’s kind of like that
Why Should I Protect Myself?
When people think of protecting against sunburn, they generally have images of slathering on sunscreen in order to avoid the pain and irritation that comes with having a sunburn. A lot of people don’t realize that a sunburn can have long-term health effects, some that are serious.
The leading cause of non-malignant skin tumors is an excess of UV radiation, whether it is from the sun or not. Sunburn is the cause of around 8% of all melanoma cancers. Having a sunburn also increases your chances of getting two types of skin cancer which are:
● Basal-cell carcinoma, or BCC, is a malignant skin cancer. Even though people that get this type of skin cancer rarely die from it, it can still cause severe disfigurement to any areas it invades. BCC is a common skin cancer in which two-thirds of cases are attributed to overexposure to sunlight.
● Squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC, is a skin cancer and is one of the major forms. SCC can not only infect the skin, but can also travel to any other parts of the body. SCC can be severe and hard to treat. The likelihood of getting SCC is increased with overexposure to sunlight.
Skin cancer is the foremost image that comes to mind when thinking about possible damage sunburns can do. There are a lot of other health issues that can be caused and attributed to a sunburn or overexposure to UV rays. Short term problems include:
● Burning in eyes
● Decreased vision or complete vision loss
● Allergic reaction to sun or UV protectants
There are also many long-term health effects you could experience from not being properly protected from the sun’s harmful rays. These are:
● Cataracts in the eye as a result of not protecting the eyes properly. Cataracts can cause blindness
● Increased chance of skin cancer
● Changes in skin such as brown spots and early aging
● Increase in current health problems
● Increase in cold sore outbreaks
What Can I Do?
Now that you know that sunburn can have serious consequences, we are going to review options for prevention and protecting yourself from UV radiation.
Taking precautions and preventative measures against sunburn is one of the easiest things you can do. You should always protect your skin from the sun. You should wear clothing that hides your skin from the sun. If it is not possible to wear long clothing, cover all visible areas of skin with sunscreen. If you are a woman you can wear makeup that contains sunscreen. Protect your face and eyes by wearing sunglasses and/or a large brimmed hat.
You should never stay in the sun for too long. Know your limits, especially if you have an already existing health condition. If you have to stay in the sun for extended periods of time, be sure to reapply your sunscreen periodically.
Drink plenty of water while you are exposed to the sun. This will help prevent you from becoming dehydrated, having a heat stroke, and will keep your skin hydrated.
By taking the proper steps and protecting your skin, you will be able to avoid having complications from sun exposure in the future.