Sunburn literally means that your skin is burned from the exposure to the sun. Overexposure may lead to harmful effects. Sunburn causes damage even before significant redness appears. For this reason, people might not even notice that they are already experiencing sunburn even though there are no significant visible manifestations. This causes some people to overexpose their skin without realizing the dangers involved.
Sunburn occurs because of Ultraviolet light. The types of UV rays responsible for sunburn are UVA and UVB. UVA rays causes skin to tan while UVB is of greater concern because of its association with skin cancer.
The UV light tends to be stronger during midday and a couple of hours before and after midday. It is advised that people should avoid direct exposure under the sun from 10 am to 4 pm.
Melanin, which is a pigment cell, aid in natural protection against sunburn. Melanin becomes active when exposed to the sun and blocks harmful UV rays. This in turn will cause the tan or dark skin after sun overexposure. Melanin may protect the skin of fairer individual only up to 15 minutes while darker skinned individual may be protected for longer periods, even hours.
Harmful Effects of Sunburn
Sunburn causes reactions that are not pleasant. Sunburn can lead to a painful red epidermis. This most common sunburn reaction may lead to skin blistering, fever and chills. To combat these reactions, an individual will need to splash cold water on the affected skin, drink much fluids to avoid dehydration, and drink pain relievers if sunburn pain is bothering.
The worst effect that sunburn can cause is melanoma. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that spreads rapidly and proves to be fatal. It is the most malignant type of skin cancer caused by UVB. When skin cells are damaged by the sun, they may lose control of their natural mechanism. When they are no longer needed and should die, they may not be able to do so leading to build up of unwanted cells and eventually cancer. Melanoma may be deciphered by the naked eye as an elevated dark colored freckling on the skin. When melanoma is suspected, one should visit the doctor immediately.
Repeated sunburn is also known to cause cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye diseases. The need of using eye wear with UV radiation protection is needed to reduce the risk of danger. The layers of the skin are very sensitive that repeated exposure under the sun may cause eye diseases.
Sunburn also weakens the immune system because it disrupts the action of white blood cells making individuals susceptible to infection.
Moreover, sunburn can cause aging of the skin faster because it destroys skin cells and disrupts the elasticity of the skin. It can also aggravate different skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema.
In addition to these harmful effects, severe cases of sunburn may cause photosensitivity and shock because of untreated dehydration.
All skin types are susceptible to the harmful effects of sunburn. Some may just acquire reactions and effects more easily than others. To prevent sunburn, one needs to avoid the sun from 10 am to 4 pm, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen religiously. The use of sunscreen is vital to protect the skin against harmful UV light.