With summer fast upon us, everyone, stay-at-home orders or no, will soon be getting much more sunshine than before. But don’t go sunbathing without precautions. Sun exposure is not without its risks. In fact, each time you get a tan, it’s actually a sign of damage. Here are some of the negative effects of sun exposure:
1. Aging Skin
No one looks forward to the signs of aging skin. Fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots—all of these are eventually inevitable. But if you’re getting too much sun exposure, you may see them much sooner. UV rays can actually speed up your skin’s aging process and add extra freckles or even tough and leathery textures to your skin.
Few things ruin a day at the beach or the pool like a sunburn—a painful souvenir of an otherwise fun day. With the peeling and blistering that come immediately after—and the unsightly tan lines that linger long after—sunburns are a pain that can eclipse the good times in the sun that brought them on. Not only that, but each sunburn raises your chances of skin cancer, especially if it’s early in life. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, “Women who experienced at least five blistering sunburns when they were 15 to 20 years old were 80 percent more likely than others to develop melanoma skin cancer later on.”
3. Skin Cancer
When you’re in direct sunlight, you’re being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays have been found to change (or mutate) the genetic material in your cells; over time, too much sun exposure without the proper protection allows the UV rays to mutate your cells to the point that skin cancer develops. Skin cancer is actually the most common form of cancer; fortunately, it is also the most preventable type of cancer if you limit direct sun exposure.
Though bronzed skin is the iconic look of summer, no one really wants the negative effects of sun exposure. With aging skin, sunburn, and skin cancer all possible, we would all do well to protect ourselves. Be smart about sun exposure by lathering up with sunscreen, dressing safely, and sticking to the shade as much as you can.