With melanoma cases on the rise all over the world, dermatologists are strongly recommending putting sun screen on all exposed surfaces before stepping out into the sun, especially in summers when the sunlight is stronger, and can cause more damage to your skin.

While it looks fantastic, tanning is actually an injury response of the skin to excessive exposure, and even after it has faded away, tanning leaves the skin of the affected area genetically altered. According to dermatologists, there is no amount of sun that is good for the skin. Although young people today associate tans with attractiveness, thanks to television shows and magazines that glorify the bronzed look, the truth is that there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed worldwide, and the number 1 cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation. UVR (ultraviolet radiation) produces DNA damage that may lead to mutations (abnormalities) in genes involved in the development of skin cancer. UVR also weakens immune surveillance mechanisms, allowing tumor cells to multiply and spread more freely.


Sunburns, even milder ones, trigger unwanted changes in the cellular structure of the skin, which may cause serious consequences in the long run.Despite so many warnings, a lot of people venture out into the sun without any protection. A recent, very dangerous trend is sun-burn art, where specific stencils are worn to expose the desired area to the sun for prolonged periods of time, which is excessively harmful.


Skin can burn in just 15 minutes, and some unprotected skin may even develop skin poisoning in that amount of time. Sun poisoned skin is an itchy, red area of the skin which looks burnt and resembles a rash that looks like blisters. Swelling, headache, fever, nausea and dizziness may also occur. Skin poisoning is a very big contributing factor towards skin cancer.


Skin cancer is the most dangerous and severe consequence of sun damage to the skin. But, even if you avoid cancer, it can still age your skin unfavorably, and cause pre-cancerous symptoms. Pre-mature aging of skin due to over-exposure to the sun is called photo-aging, and can not only be unpleasant on the eyes, but is also expensive to treat.


Some patients think that as long as they tan indoors in special salons, they maybe safe from the perils of cancer. It is very important to dispel this myth, as tanning beds and salons pose an ever bigger risk of melanoma. The risk of melanoma increases by 75% if someone starts to use a tanning bed before the age of 35.


Skin cancer risks are higher in people with freckles, as freckles appear due to increased exposure in the sun. It is important to ask patients to keep an eye on any new developing moles. The sudden appearance of the new mole in a new place should warrant a dermatological check-up.

Dr. Annie

Physician, mom and wife

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