How Does Sun Exposure Affect Skin?

The effects of sunlight on the human body are both positive and negative. Sun exposure effects on the skin, for example, are well known to cause skin burns and increase the risk of cancer in the long run; however, sun exposure is also required for synthesizing Vitamin D in the skin. As a result, an optimal balance between healthy sun exposure and dangerous overexposure is required.

When the sun shines down on us, it can do us good or harm, depending on how we react to its rays. You may have heard of these as UV rays or ultraviolet.

The most common type of sun exposure is UVA rays.

UVB rays are less prevalent in the sun but more intense. UVC rays are the most dangerous. Fortunately, we are not exposed to UVC rays.

UV rays can penetrate your skin even if you can’t see them. In the skin, the epidermis is the outermost layer. Various nerves and blood arteries are located in the dermis. The cells of the epidermis contain the pigment melanin. People with lighter skin tones are more susceptible to sunburn because of this.

Melanin protects our skin while producing vitamin D. Your skin tans or darkens as your body defends itself against UV rays. UV rays can penetrate your inner skin layers if you spend too much time in the sun. This is referred to as sunburn. This can result in skin cells dying, being damaged, or developing cancer.

Sunburn symptoms include:


 Because of the increased blood flow, sun exposure affects the skin i.e. your skin will turn red. It can happen immediately or gradually. You may not realize you’ve been burned until you return inside.

Hot skin. You may also experience goosebumps or chills.

  • Pain.
  • Skin that is itchy or tight.
  • Blisters.
  • Dehydration.
  • Peeling.

What are the benefits of sun exposure?

Sun exposure has both advantages and disadvantages.

Minimum UV rays are beneficial to us as it produces vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption. Calcium is required by the body to build and maintain healthy bones.  If you have low vitamin D levels, your doctor may advise you to take a supplement.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), UV rays can aid in treating certain health conditions. Doctors may recommend it to individuals suffering from eczema, psoriasis, rickets, or jaundice. UV rays can also be used to disinfect and sterilize.

Excessive sun exposure can be harmful. It may result in the following:

Sun exposure affects the skin, and it starts to change. Melanin-containing skin cells can clump together. This results in freckles and moles. These can develop cancer over time.

Early ageing.

Sun exposure affects the skin to age faster than usual. Wrinkled, tight, or leathery skin, as well as dark spots, are symptoms.

Immune system suppression.

The body relies on white blood cells to fight against infections. New skin cells are formed with the help of white blood cells after the skin is burned. In other ways, this can weaken your immune system.

Eye injuries.

UV rays can cause tissue damage in your eyes. They can burn your outer layer, known as the cornea. They can also cause blurred vision. Cataracts can develop over time. If not treated earlier, this can result in blindness.

Skin cancer.

Most cases of skin cancer are not malignant melanomas. Although exceedingly frequent, it can be effectively treated. Melanoma is a more dangerous form of skin cancer that is much less frequent—leaving skin cancer untreated increases the risk of it spreading to other body parts.

Sun exposure can harm anyone.

 It makes no difference how old you are or your skin colour. The length and depth of your exposure increase your risk. If you have fair skin or moles, you are more affected. A family history of skin cancer is also a consideration. Farmers, construction workers, and fishermen require additional safeguards.

The Way to Better Health

You can avoid the negative sun exposure effects on the skin. Follow the Food and Drug Administration’s tried-and-true guidelines (FDA).

Apply sunscreen.

The FDA recommends SPF 15 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreen blocks UVA and UVB. 30 minutes before heading outside, apply sunscreen. Don’t forget your ears, lips, and hairline. Each hour, reapply sunscreen. After swimming or sweating, reapply.

Make a plan for your exposure.

Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., avoid direct sunlight. Take extra precautions in areas closer to the equator.

Take frequent breaks. Excessive sun exposure affects the skin and is harmful. Enter the house, seek shade, or use an umbrella.

Protect yourself.

Protect your skin from UV rays by wearing clothing and hats. This is especially important for babies and children, who are more sensitive. You should also wear UV-blocking sunglasses.

Other considerations should be made when it comes to sun exposure. Some medications can increase your sensitivity to the sun’s UV rays. Antibiotics and birth control pills are examples.

UV rays reflect off surfaces like water, concrete, sand, and snow. You are more vulnerable in these areas. This means that sunburn can occur while skiing. When it is cloudy outside, you can also get sunburned.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can skin recover from sun damage?

Sun damage is reversible to some extent, but you can’t completely undo the changes to your skin,” Dr Littler says. Topical retinoids can help improve the appearance of surface wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots.

What age does sun damage start?

Signs of photoaging usually begin in your teens to early 20s. Signs include Spider veins (broken capillaries) on your nose, cheeks and neck. Also called telangiectasia.

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