The Sun - Best Friend and Worst Enemy

by: Francisco Cid

As the summer approaches we wanted to remind everyone how extremely important it is to be careful when exposed to sunlight. It is essential to protect your skin from the potential damage from direct sunlight. In order to maintain, protect, and repair skin health constant maintenance is needed. Humans don’t have a very good natural protector and therefore are very sensitive to UV rays and IR radiation exposure. People’s skin types are different and may require extra precautions. Cancer is a multi-step process that takes certain conditions and time to develop. Sunlight can be the catalyst for this process. Skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer but still is constantly increasing in death rates. Global Warming and climate change trends show that the UV index in the coming years is going to be record high. Emissions and ozone depletion allow for more dangerous radiation waves to enter the Earth. This basically means that the Sun has never been stronger and skin cancer rates are going up, so it is important to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

When skin becomes exposed to UV radiation the cells try to prevent the damage by producing the pigment Melanin (which gives the tan color). After the genetic damage is done then the cell has to repair it, creating more chances for errors in replication to occur. These mutations can also be an addition to preexisting conditions or mutations and can accelerate the progression of cancer. Mutations and disruptions to the Cellular Equilibrium start occurring after about only 20 minutes of direct exposure to sunlight. When exposed to sunlight try to avoid long term exposure and give your body time to heal after the burns happen (this could take weeks). The chances of developing cancer increase exponentially with the use of Tanning Beds, which are just a direct exposure to only UV rays and radiation that have been proved to be directly linked to skin cancer. Using indoor tanners before the age of 35 increases by 75% the chance of developing a life-threatening Carcinoma or Melanoma.

Skin health is cumulative and leads back to even the first sun burn and increases in danger with every time damage happens. Constant and effective skin protection habits are essential for long-term good skin health. Skin treatment has to be targeted in protection and reparation. Personalized or focused treatments/preventions can include using moisturizers, insulators, antioxidants (combat free radicals and prevent oxidative stress), enzymes, diet, and MODERATION. Sunlight also can be beneficial for health, for example Vitamin D production is triggered by UV-B rays in sunlight (UV-B rays are NOT emitted by Tanning Beds) but an alternative is getting vitamins, nutrients and good hydration from a balanced diet and lifestyle. Having a healthy skin is a way of life. Be happy, be safe, and have a great Summer.

“Everything in moderation, including moderation” Oscar Wilde