The sun produces two kinds of rays, visible and invisible. The rays you canít see (invisible) are known as ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC). These invisible rays are dangerous to your skin and can cause suntan, sunburn and sun damage. Plus, UV rays can also cause cataracts, which are gradual clouding of the lens of the eye. SUNBATHING ISN'T SAFE
There are many different types of damage that can result from too much sun.
Here are some of the most common:
Tough, leathery skin
Enlarged and visible blood vessels
Easily bruised skin
AgingĖMost people estimate your age based on the amount of sun damage to your skin!
ARTIFICIAL SUNLIGHT ISNíT SAFE EITHER
Indoor tanning salons use ultraviolet light, so they have the same side effects as the sun Ė including more rapid aging, and increased chance of melanoma and skin cancer. No kind of ultraviolet light is safe!
A ďHEALTHYĒ TAN ISNíT HEALTHY AT ALL
For years, people used to think that a suntan was a sign of good health. The fact is just the opposite. A suntan is the skinís response to injury from sunlight. Although a suntan might look good on the surface, remember, itís a sign of permanent injury.
NO MATTER HOW DARK YOUR SKIN IS, YOUíRE STILL AT RISK
There is a substance produced by the skin called melanin (mel-a-nin). When UV rays enter the skin, the skin protects itself by making more melanin, causing a tan. The more melanin you have in the skin the more protected you are from ultraviolet light. However, the protection is only equal to a sunscreen with a protection and is not a substitute for a sunscreen lotion.
THE SUN EMITS UV RAYS ALL THE TIME
Itís not the heat that causes the damage; itís the ultraviolet light. It is important to remember that the sun is still dangerous even when it is not your typical summer day. UV rays may still be strong on cold or overcast days and can penetrate through cloud cover, fog, and haze. However, certain things do make UV light more intense. Here is a list of things that can increase the amount of UV light you are getting.
Time of day (10 a.m. Ė 3 p.m.)
Proximity to the equator
Reflected rays from water, sand or snow
Some medicines including antibiotics and acne medicines can make skin more susceptible to sunburn & sun damage.
THE SUN HURTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Besides damaging your skin, ultraviolet light damages the bodyís ability to fight off early skin cancer using the defenses of the immune system. This fact is not widely known but is one of the most important reasons that sunscreens are necessary as you get older.
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Mohs Surgery and Surgical Dermatology for Skin Cancer