The Problems with Sunburns

The Problems with Sunburns | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale, Phoenix

The Problems with Sunburns

Some patients can benefit from protected exposure to the sun in small doses. However, Spectrum Dermatology recommends that everyone layer sunscreen every two hours whenever exposure to sunlight is a risk. Sunlight offers vitamin D, and for patients suffering from certain issues such as arthritis, the warmth can help relieve discomfort. Still, the possible risks and side effects of a suntan outweigh the benefits.

What Is A Sunburn

A sunburn is the result of skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. The majority of sunburns immediately cause redness and mild pain. These first-degree burns affect the top layer of skin, but can still lead to skin cancer and premature signs of aging. There are also second-degree sunburns that present as blisters. They affect deeper layers of skin and nerve endings. Second-degree burns take longer to heal, are more painful, and cause more skin damage.

Tertiary problems related to sunburns may include heatstroke and vision troubles. A person’s skin type largely dictates how easily they burn. Those with fair skin, freckles, blond/red hair, and blue eyes most often burn easiest. However, even though people with darker skin tones don’t burn as easily, they are still susceptible to skin cancer. A person’s age also impacts their skin’s reaction to UV rays. Those under the age of six and over 60 usually burn easier.

The time of day plays a role in the severity of sunburns. Exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. leads to a higher chance of sun damage. Even on cloudy days, this timeframe is most dangerous. Being close to reflective surfaces like water, concrete, and snow better reflect UV rays and increase the odds of a sunburn. Seasons can make a difference, as can altitude. People burn easier at high altitudes since the Earth’s atmosphere is lessened, and therefore unable to block sunlight as effectively. People who live closer to the equator are exposed to more UV rays, and the day’s UV index showcases how risky the rays are for the day.

The Impact of Sunburns on Our Skin

Sunburns are the body’s immediate warning sign that there is damage and potential danger. However, the full effects of sun damage may not show until years later. Premature wrinkles, brown spots, and skin cancer can all present years or decades after unprotected sun exposure. A yearly skin check with a dermatologist is the best way to discover and address sun damage. Call Spectrum Dermatology at 480-948-8400 and make an appointment today.