You know how harmful the sun can be – at some point in your life, you’ve probably experienced a painful, stinging sunburn after skipping the sunscreen or spending too long outside without any shaded protection. When your skin endures a sunburn, the pain may fade after a week or even a few days, but the damage is lasting: you’ve harmed the cells and blood vessels within your skin. A sunburn is just one of the many different ways in which exposure to the sun’s rays can cause health issues. There are countless other harmful effects that can result from too much time in the sun.
Sure, the sun offers many benefits. It provides us with vitamin D, helping our bodies to feel healthier with every exposure to sunlight. And stepping outside to bask in the sun, or enjoy its warmth, makes people happy. Yet these benefits don’t exactly outweigh the negative effects of the sun and its UV-laden rays. Sunburns are the most common side effect of stepping out into the sunlight for too long, and repeated burns do great damage to your skin – they dry out your skin, causing it to appear discolored, wrinkled, and leathery if you’re an avid sun worshipper. Every sunburn does more damage to your skin cells, leaving your skin thinner and more prone to bruising as well.
More serious conditions can occur as well over years and years of unprotected time in the sun. Some of the many conditions that can result from too much sun exposure are:
- Benign tumors
- Pre-cancerous and cancerous skin leisons
- Yellow skin discoloration, also known as sallowness
- Mottled pigmentation, or patches of discoloration on the skin
- Telangiectasias, or dilated blood vessels
- Elastosis, or the loss of elastic and collagen in the skin tissue
Although the sun and its light cause aging, the loss of skin’s elasticity and youthfulness, and painful, damaging burns, its most pressing problem is the development of cancer. Spend too much time unprotected under the sun’s rays, and you could develop a wide variety of skin cancers. Remember to slather on sunscreen every time you head outside – even if it’s just for a few minutes. You’ll not only prevent burns, but also ward off all of the other harmful effects of UV lighting, as long as you keep in mind that you need to reapply, too.