Skip to main content

What Happens To Your Skin After Continued Sun Exposure?

By , On , In Dr. Ben Wiese, Skin Cancer

While it may be difficult to think about right now with the continued, frigid winter weather, the warmer months are not too far away. For countless people around the world, that typically means that they will be spending more time in the sun. What many people do not take into account though, is the effect that the sun has on your skin each time you are exposed to its UV rays. From working on your tan to getting a sunburn, each time in the sun affects the integrity of your skin. Knowing this, let’s examine some of the things that happen to your skin when exposed to the sun.

Most individuals who have spent time in the sun have probably experienced a sunburn at some point in their lives. Sunburns are caused when the skin is exposed to too much ultraviolet (UV) rays, which means that the burn can affect the outer layers of the skin. If the sunburn is considered to be more severe, it can end up damaging, and in some cases, killing the deeper layers of the skin cells. As a result of this damage, cells can begin to mutate, which often leads to the development of skin cancer.

While a few sunburns may not seem dangerous, the number of sunburns that you have gotten throughout your life, the frequency that they occur, and the severity of the sunburn all greatly affect the integrity of the skin. Like most other areas of the body, the skin may not be able to heal the way that it should, both because of natural aging and potential damage to the cells. Each time the skin needs to rejuvenate itself, it may not have the same capability to heal, and this increases the risk that mutilated DNA cells can start to grow and divide. This typically signifies the beginning stages of skin cancer.

Protecting Your Skin
Knowing that the damage caused by continued sun exposure and sunburns can lead to skin cancer, it is important to always practice safe sun measures. This includes applying sunscreen to your entire body before going into the sun and reapplying throughout the day. Additionally, wearing protective, light-colored clothing can help protect your skin, thus reducing the risk of developing skin cancer in the future.

Preparing for the warmer months now by purchasing all new sunscreens, pulling out protective, light clothing, and planning on how much you should be in the sun can all help reduce the risk of sun damage in the future, increasing your likelihood of living a long, cancer-free life.