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Beyond a sunburn: Other dangerous side effects of sun exposure

Most of us have experienced sunburn at some point in our lives, with that tight, painful feeling on our skin every time we move. Have you ever thought about how damaging the sun really is? Well, keep reading to discover the truth about the dangers of sun exposure for you and your family.

Tan children

Skin cancer

Melanoma, the most severe form of skin cancer, is the most common cancer among young Australians aged between 15 and 44 years. Unfortunately, our melanoma rates continue to rise despite the clear warnings and repeated sun care advice. It’s not only sunburn that increases a person’s risk of suffering skin cancer. Simple UV exposure, especially during childhood, is considered to be just as harmful as suffering from sunburn.

Eye damage

Sun exposure and UV radiation increase the likelihood of eye damage and, in particular, cataracts, eye cancers and eye degeneration. Wearing sunglasses that offer 100 per cent UVA and UVB protection is the best way to protect eyes from serious sun damage. Choose close-fitting sunglasses with large lenses for children, as these offer maximum eye protection.

Reduced immunity

Sun exposure, particularly exposure to UVA rays, suppresses the body’s immune system, reducing the skin’s natural defences against infections and disease. Young children who experience too much sun exposure run a greater risk of reduced immunity as they age. A child’s skin is more sensitive to UV rays than an adult’s skin. Daily use of a broad spectrum sunscreen, such as Banana Boat’s range of SPF30 and SPF 50 sunscreens specially formulated for kids, is the best defence against protecting their immune system.

Skin pigmentation

It is a common misconception that those with darker skin are less likely to suffer from overexposure to the sun. Harmful sun damage goes far beyond simple sunburn. A significant amount of sun damage occurs without any obvious signs. UV rays penetrate the skin, whether it is pale, olive or dark, and it causes irreversible damage. As we age, the effects of sun exposure can appear as skin discolouration. Freckles, age spots, yellow discolouration and mottled pigmentation of the skin are all common side effects of sun exposure, increasing our risk of developing dangerous skin cancers.


Although not normally noticeable in younger skin, wrinkles are caused by sun exposure. Unfortunately, wrinkles don’t appear until the skin has suffered significant and irreversible sun damage. UV radiation breaks down the skin’s deeper layers, destroying collagen and elastin fibres. This breakdown leads to the skin becoming saggy, thin, dry and wrinkled. The best way to protect yourself and your children from developing wrinkles later in life is to use regular sunscreen protection to reduce daily sun exposure.

More sun safety tips

How much sun protection is enough?
What does UVA, UVB, and SPF mean?
What sunscreen is right for you?

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