The sun is a wonderful source of vitamin D and other health benefits, but it is not without risks. We all know that we need to protect ourselves from the sun's harmful UV rays, but many of us don't realize just how dangerous sun exposure can be. Being in the sun for extended periods can cause a wide range of health problems including:
One of the most powerful carcinogens is prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It increases the risk of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma cancer.
The Skin Cancer Foundation advised: “Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.”
More than 3.6 million cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year. And studies show that an estimated 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by UV radiation from the sun.
Photosensitivity is a condition that results when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or artificial light sources, such as tanning beds. It is an abnormal sensitivity to light often referred to as sun allergy.
If you notice redness or blotches on your skin after being in the sun for a while, it could be due to a “sun allergy.” People develop itchy rashes that have redness and inflammation on sun-exposed areas of their skin. In some cases, photosensitivity can cause scaly patches, blotchyblisters, itching, or other symptoms after being exposed to sunlight.
Photoaging is caused by repeated exposure to UV rays from the sun, though it can also be induced by exposure to artificial UV sources. When UV rays hit the skin, they damage the cells leading to wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging. They also penetrate the skin to damage collagen and build up abnormal elastin. Over time, exposure to UV rays can make skin age, thin, and not be as elastic.
Continued unprotected exposure to UV rays speeds up the aging process. In fact, the sun triggers 80% of premature aging.
It has been discovered that UV rays suppress the immune system, making people more susceptible to other types of cancer and other diseases. The skin has a natural defense mechanism against external factors like temperature, chemicals, and bacteria. However, when it comes in contact with too much UV radiation, it can wear down the immune system.
UV radiation damage is cumulative. It builds up over time, so even small doses of exposure can harm your vision. Short-term or long-term exposure to UV radiation can be damaging to the eyes. This tends to lead to deteriorating vision over time.
Unprotected exposure to UV rays causes several problems for the eyes, including cataracts, corneal damage, macular degeneration, photokeratitis, and other eye problems.
Summertime is synonymous with outdoor fun and means more exposure to the sun's rays. It's vital to be proactive in protecting yourself from skin cancer by using sunscreen, avoiding peak hours of sunlight, wearing protective clothing, glasses, and wide-brimmed hats, and staying in the shade when possible. And don't forget to protect your skin and vehicles interior by adding quality window film, which provides 99% UV protection.
By: Matteo Donati