Humanity has a love/hate relationship with the sun. There’s no doubt that a bright, sunny day can lift your spirits, and controlled doses of UV exposure can actually be good for you, but spending hours in the sun without protection is unwise. Explore the relationship between the sun and your skin to help you navigate the dos and don’ts of sun exposure this summer.
How the Sun Helps Your Skin
Moderate sunshine can positively benefit your skin’s appearance and overall health. Some examples include:
- Higher vitamin D levels: This nutrient is essential for strong bones and muscle function. While sunlight is a primary source of Vitamin D, you can also get this nutrient from certain fish and fortified foods.
- Cancer prevention: The sun is notorious for causing skin cancer, but the boost of vitamin D it gives you can help ward off colon, prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers.
- Treatment for certain skin conditions: UV radiation can treat symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. Vitiligo also often responds well to light therapy.
How the Sun Harms Your Skin
Sunlight can be wonderful for your physical and mental health. Still, you should limit your time outside without sunscreen to avoid these symptoms of excessive sun exposure:
- Sunburn: Just about everyone has had a sunburn at least once. The red, painful skin appears within a few hours of sun exposure. The more times you get sunburned, the higher your risk of skin cancer, especially if some burns are bad enough to cause blisters.
- Dry skin: The sun’s rays dry out everything it touches, including your skin. This makes any existing wrinkles appear more prominent.
- Premature aging: UV light breaks down elastin fibers in your skin, causing stretching, sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles. The sun also causes uneven pigmentation and leathery skin that makes you look older.
- Freckles and sunspots: Excessive time in the sun increases melanin production. While this can create a tan, it also leads to freckling and sunspots.
- Telangiectasia: Dilated capillary vessels caused by chronic sun exposure create web-like patterns, or telangiectases, on the skin. This condition isn’t dangerous, but it can cause discomfort and insecure feelings.
- Benign tumors: Non-cancerous growths on the skin can appear for many reasons, including unprotected sun exposure. Colored lumps and lesions may not be life-threatening, but you might feel self-conscious about how they appear.
- Skin cancer: Most dangerous of all, UV rays damage your DNA, causing skin cells to grow abnormally and leading to basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Whether you’re seeking sunburn relief or need urgent care for another reason, turn to Total Point Urgent Care. We provide walk-in services at a fraction of the cost of an emergency room visit. Plus, our 12 neighborhood clinics in Texas and Arizona offer the warm, efficient, and personalized care you deserve. Stop by a location near you today or contact us online with any questions you have.