Effects of the Sun on Your Skin

Written by: Cathy Bowen, RN- San Antonio Administrator & Director of Clinical Services for Capitol Home Health

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With summer right around the corner, many people are getting ready to spend the long days gardening, playing outside or even heading to the beach with the family. The one thing almost all standard summer activities have in common is the sun! Contrary to popular belief, too much exposure to the sun is a bad thing.

People believe that more sun equals more vitamin D, vitamin D allows the body to break down calcium from food and supplements. That makes people assume that more vitamin D/ more sun will help lead to a more healthy lifestyle; however, what does the statistics state about vitamin D from sun exposure? Gathered data from Harvard University of Medicine states that only just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure on the face, forearms and hands is enough adequate exposure to suffice your body and maintain a balanced vitamin D level.

So what do scientist state are the negative effects of being exposed to UV radiation for more than 10-15 minutes? Well here are two different terms effects on the human body from UV radiation, short-term and long-term effects.

Short-term effects of being in the sun for more than the recommend time span can cause skin severity such as:

  • Sunburn
  • Blistering of the skin
  • Second degree burns

Long-term effects from exposure to the sun for a prolonged period of time at frequent occasions can cause severe skin alterations not associated with sunburn such as

  • Wrinkling of the skin
  • Wrinkling of the liver
  • Age spots

Another drastic effect from long-term UV exposure is that it can change the skins cellular composition, resulting in potential skin cancer. So even though sun exposure is a good thing for the human body, it has its hazardous side effects.

It is highly advised if an individual is planning to exceed the daily time of exposure to the sun that the individual should take certain precautions, like: protective clothing, sunscreen or finding a cool location with shade. If an individual follows these precautions, they should not have to endure any of the short/long term effects that UV radiation can cause. Enjoy your summer safely!