Summertime means shorts, sandals, bikinis and sunbathing. It also commonly means overexposure to the sun and a resulting sunburn. More concerning, overexposure to the sun can lead to skin damage even before redness occurs, and every exposure can result in cumulative damage over time.
Sunburn is caused specifically by overexposure to ultraviolet rays, both UVA and UVB rays, from the sun or tanning beds. The skin has a natural defense against sunburn, called melanin, but when UV exposure exceeds melanin’s protection, a burn occurs. Lighter-skinned people have a greater risk of sunburn because they have less melanin than darker-skinned individuals. Sunburn is not only painful, it can be detrimental to health.
Dangers of sunburn
Increased risk of skin cancer
Higher risk of vision problems and eye disorders
Aggravated skin disorders, such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea
Premature skin aging, including wrinkles and age spots
No one is immune to the dangers of sunburn; no matter the age or darkness of skin. The more sun exposure, the more a person is at risk for sun-related complications.
Avoiding overexposure to the sun and taking precautions to prevent sunburn every day is the best way to reduce your family’s risk of skin cancer, dehydration, premature aging and other sun-related dangers. Before you go outside, apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) to exposed skin and wear attire that protects against the sun, including a brimmed cap, sunglasses, long sleeved shirts, long pants, and shoes that cover your feet. Wear light colored and light-weight clothing in the hot months and consider enjoying the great outdoors in the shade or under an umbrella. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or every 30 minutes, if swimming. In addition, limit your sun exposure between 10am and 4pm, when the sun’s rays are the most intense.