|The experience of sunburn can be a very efficient (i.e. painful) reminder to heed adequate protection on future occasions. However more importantly, it should be a reminder of the long-term effects of sun exposure on our bodies and health – which can include aging of the skin and skin cancer.|
In order to more fully understand these consequences, let’s take a look at exactly what sunburn is, its symptoms and its effect on the body.
Sunburn results when the amount of exposure to the sun, or other ultraviolet light source (e.g. tanning lamps and welding arcs etc.), exceeds the ability of the body's protective pigment, melanin, to protect the skin. Melanin content varies greatly, but in general darker skinned people have more melanin than lighter skinned. (Although fairer skinned people are generally more prone to getting sunburn than darker skinned people, this certainly does not exclude the latter from risk.)
Sunburn destroys cells in the outer layer of the skin, damaging tiny blood vessels underneath. Burns deeper into the skin’s layers also damage elastic fibers in the skin, which over time and with repeated sun overexposure, can result in the appearance of yellowish, wrinkled skin.
The damage to skin cells from UV exposure (either sunlight or tanning lamps etc.) can also include damage to their DNA. It’s this repeated DNA damage, which can lead to a cell becoming cancerous. With the incidence of skin cancer rising dangerously in many parts of the world, and with its ability to develop and establish itself in the body ‘long’ before external signs are detected, -- paying attention to this aspect of sun exposure and sunburn should certainly not be ignored if we are serious about preserving our health.
Now while it may be easier to ignore the effects of sunburn occurring at a cellular level, ignoring the external symptoms of sunburn in the days immediately following such exposure is entirely another matter.
While sunburn is usually not immediately obvious, skin discoloration (ranging from slightly pink to severely red or even purplish) will initially appear from 1 – 24 hours after exposure. Although pain is usually worst 6 – 48 hours afterward, the burn can continue to develop for 24 – 72 hours after the incident. Where there is skin peeling, this generally occurs 3 – 8 days after the burn occurs.
While minor sunburns typically cause nothing more than warm/hot skin, slight redness, and tenderness to the affected area, -- in more serious cases, extreme redness, swelling and blistering can occur. These blisters filled with fluid may itch and eventually break. This can then cause peeling of the skin, exposing an even tenderer layer of skin underneath.
Severe sunburn can cause very red, blistered skin but can also be accompanied by fever, chills, nausea (in some cases vomiting), and dehydration. In instances of extreme sunburn where the pain is debilitating, medical treatment may be required.
While the immediate effects of sunburn can certainly be painful and cause discomfort, the real deterrent to UV overexposure should be the potential damage to your long-term health – including the risk of premature aging of the skin along with skin cancer.
Don’t let sunburn and sun overexposure kill your chances of enjoying youthful skin, and a healthy body. Remember, the easiest way to treat sunburn will always be to avoid it in the first place!
Angela Perin is editor of the 'Safe Tan Ezine', which features practical articles and tips on Beauty, Fitness, Nutrition and more. SAFE TAN - The Ulimate Experience in Natural Sunless Tanning
Your Finger Nails Talk To You About Your Health
Your Finger Nails Talk To You About Your Health
Your nails can tell you some things about your health. Look at yours and then read this:
If you have little white spots in your nails, and you have not bumped or banged your fingers, It may...
Help For Persistent Or Recurring Swelling
Like the arteries, veins and capillaries that transport blood through our bodies, our bodies also contains an extensive drainage system that returns water and proteins from our tissues back to the bloodstream. Called the lymphatic system, it is...
4 Natural Home Remedies to Ease the Pain of Sunburn
At some time or another, we’ve all experienced the effects of sunburn – be it a light burn or a more heavy burn.
Although the sting of regret of inadequate protection (from UV exposure) can be an excellent incentive to plan more carefully on...
Startling New Evidence: You Can Slow the Aging Process, Scientists Say
What if you could actually slow your rate of aging, and live healthier longer, simply by eating certain foods? U.S. Government scientists now say it’s possible.
Floyd P. Horn, then Administrator of the scientific research arm of the USDA,...
Chocolate and heart health – fact or fallacy?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if chocolate and heart health went hand in hand. However, there is so much information lately about the health benefits of chocolate that it is only natural that people get confused.
It is true, that if people only ate...