Everyone knows that spending too much time in the sun can be quite harmful to our bodies. Even with this knowledge, people all across Canada still flock to beaches all summer long to bathe in the sun throughout the short summer months in hopes of getting a perfect golden tan.
Before you decide to do this, make sure that you understand just how dangerous extended exposure to UV rays are to your body. Some of the effects are temporary, but the more severe ones are long lasting and can even be life threatening. UV rays can have the following negative impacts on our bodies:
- Premature skin aging
- Weakening of your immune system
- Development of skin cancer
Be prepared so that you can take the necessary precautions to enjoy the sunshine in a safe manner and minimize your risk of damaging your body.
Anyone who has spent too much time in the sun without sunscreen on knows all too well how much it sucks to get a sun burn. Depending on how severe the sunburn is, you can experience symptoms such as your skin turning red, varying degrees of pain, peeling skin, itchy skin, fever, chills and several other symptoms. But what is actually happening on a biological level for your skin to burn?
As your skin is exposed to high levels of UV radiation, superficial blood vessels in the dermis dilate causing increased blood flow in the skin, which results in your skin turning red. The harmful UV rays are also damaging RNA in your skin cells and causing genetic mutations in your skin, which in the long term can become very dangerous.
Premature Skin Aging
Unlike sunburning, premature aging of the skin occurs after repeated exposure to the suns harmful UV rays. As you repeatedly expose your skin to the sun, the dermis begins undergoing structural changes while trying to adapt to the powerful radiation.
Some of the signs that your skin is prematurely aging include:
- dry skin
- wrinkled skin
- loss of skin elasticity
- mottled skin appearance
Weakening of the Immune System
Recent research has shown that excessive exposure to UV rays can diminish the activity of certain cells that are responsible for triggering an immune system response. This in turn can make it difficult for the body to heal certain infections and, even worse, can stop tumor rejection making it more likely for someone with high exposure to UV rays to get skin cancer.
Development of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer, which is the most prevalent form of cancer on earth, can come in several different forms. Some of these skin cancers are a result of chronic exposure to UV rays while others are a result of periodic intense exposure for people that have unacclimatized skin.
The harmful UV rays damage DNA cells causing mutations for the next generation of skin growth. On top of this, the immune system suppression discussed above makes it difficult for the body to fight off any harmful mutated cells.