They say that too much of anything is bad, no matter how good it might seem initially. Believe it or not, the same principle applies to the sun. The sun, earth's ultimate source of light, life and energy, can also be a source of damage for the skin. You might ask, "How is this possible?" True, it does seem rather contradictory. Vitamin D, which is important for bone mineralization, is generated in the skin after being absorbed from the sunlight. However, basking in the sun's rays can also be harmful if done too much.
But before discussing how the sun can produce unwanted effects for your skin, it's only right to talk about its advantages as well. More than anything, sunlight provides the heat and warmth that we need for our day-to-day living. Without the sun, the human race will cease to exist the same way the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the earth.
Here are a few benefits you can get from the sunlight:
- Vitamin D. As mentioned, this vitamin is essential for bone mineralization as well as the absorption of phosphorus and calcium.
- Tanning. People flock to the beaches during summer to get those ever famous tan lines. Sunlight actually alters the melanin in your skin to give it darker pigment overtime. This can give your skin a healthy glow, but too much can cause sunburn.
Although the sun seems very beneficial, too much of it seems to cause more harmful effects to your skin.
Faster skin aging
You've seen pictures of truck drivers with wrinkled skin only in half of their bodies due to overexposure to the sun. The sunlight causes the skin to become less elastic, leading to the formation of wrinkles. Although the effects may not show immediately, they tend to get worse as time goes by.
This is the more serious effect of overexposure to the sunlight. Skin cancer usually comes in three forms. Basal cell carcinoma are more common in fair-skinned people and starts as a fleshy nodule; squamous cell carcinoma, on the other hand, starts as a red and scaly nodule; melanoma, the most deadly of the three, starts as a mole-like lesion with irregular borders. That is why it is always recommended to cover your skin moles, even if they are benign.
Although tanning is seen as desirable by some, most physicians regard sunburn as a serious skin cancer risk. Sunburn starts as a mild redness on the affected portion of the skin, and this usually peaks within 24 hours, often accompanied by pain upon touching. Worse symptoms include blistering, swelling, fever, chills, nausea, and even delirium. Home remedies such as cold compress and soothing creams provide only temporary relief. In serious cases, it's better to consult your dermatologist.
Some people actually develop allergies to the sunlight, the symptoms of which can range from something as mild as red splotches to more serious ones like blisters, hives, and bumps.
Now that you know the harmful effects caused by the sun, remember that prevention is better than cure. Avoid exposure to the sun especially during peak hours (e.g. noon) and put on sun block, preferably with SPF 15 or higher.
Kim Stevenson is writing for a great health website, RemoveSkinMoles.Com. It is one of the greatest sources of information about skin care and mole removal.