When spending time at the beach or anywhere outside, some people get a suntan, while others experience redness, pain, itching, blistering and peeling. Therefore, why does the skin soak up sunlight and inflame during the summer. A suntan is a natural defense mechanism, but does not always protect us from the UV sun rays. When the defense system is overwhelmed, we get sunburned.
What Causes Sunburn?
The ultraviolet light contained in the sun rays is invisible and carries much energy. When this photon strikes the human skin, it damages the body’s cells’ DNA and breaks the orderly bonds between the thymine, adenosine, guanine and the four nucleotides. When this happens, thymine dimmers form and damage the cells’ DNA.
When the body senses the destruction of the cells, it immediately starts flooding the inflamed area with blood. This is why your body becomes red.
Therefore, generally speaking, the main cause of sunburn is the sun and its ultraviolet lights. However, there are also several things that can speed up and increase the sunburn process.
1. The mobile devices are now proved to increase UV exposure by as much as 85 percents, especially laptops and iPads. This means that if a person is sitting in the sun and using a device at the same time, they are more likely to get sunburned than others are. Unless you are using a device that is created to be less reflective, you should avoid using such during the time spent under the sun.
2. Alcohol is also known to increase the chances of getting sunburned. The heavy drinkers have a much higher risk of getting sunburn than those that drink occasionally.
3. Autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis make the skin of the patient more sensitive to the sun. In some cases, this was even the indicator that a person is suffering from such conditions. When sunburn appears in the form of pattern on the chest, arms and the face, doctors are commonly checking for cases of atypical sunburn situation. Both sunburn and skin cancer are more commonly found in people who suffer from autoimmune diseases. This is why monthly exams of the skin are highly recommended for such patients.
4. Antibiotics can also increase the risk of sun sensitivity and cause the skin to burn faster. Such medications include antibiotics, diuretics, topical and oral retinoids such as acitretin, tazarotene, isotretinoin and tretinoin. Additionally, there are many medications that can cause reaction to the sun, including over the counter pain relievers, antidepressants and oral contraceptives.
5. Trying to get tan can cause sunburn. You may not notice the signs of sunburn immediately after your skin is damaged, so you are more likely to sit in the sun and wait for your skin to become darker. After few hours, you will notice that you got sunburned instead.
6. Using alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid; retinoids or even mechanical cleansing devices will make your skin more radiant and prone to getting sunburned.
7. Using old or cheap sunscreen will not protect you from the sun. The old sunscreen you found in the glove box at your home cannot maintain its original strength after a long period of time. Maybe the expiration date will still be far ahead, but you should really throw out any sunscreen that was produced in more than three years ago.
8. Regular T-shirts cannot do well against the sun rays. Some people wear these and think that they are protected from the UV rays, but this is not true. The regular tee provides you with SPF 7 equivalent and you really need a minimum of SPF 30. So, even if you are wearing a T-shirt, do not feel like you have protected the skin from the sun.
The sun can do a lot of damage to the skin. Therefore, we must do everything we can in order to prevent the inflammation, itching, peeling and pain caused by the dying of the skin’s cells. Using good sunscreen, wearing protective clothes, sunglasses and a hat are the best way to get UV light protection if you have to get out in the sun while it is at its strongest. After all, overexposure to the sun can cause serious complications and can lead to skin cancer and even to death.