How Much Damage Can the Sun Cause?

Do you know that more than 90% of skin cancer is caused by excessive exposure to the sun? What’s the risk for you to develop skin cancer?

Let’s start with sun exposure. 15-minute sun exposure is enough for the body to generate vitamin D although vitamin D can be obtained from other dietary sources. However, hours of exposure to the sun when less protected can result in serious sun damage. And the biggest threat that the sun poses to our health is its capacity to cause skin cancer.

Sun-damage skin_3044103081_2e267c8a50_mThe sun emits three types of invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays, i.e. UVA, UVB, and UVC. It damages the human skin primarily through UVA and UVB. UVA rays are responsible for rashes, and allergic reactions, while UVB rays, for sunburns. Surely, both UVA and UVB speed up skin aging; yet more seriously, they cause skin cancer. These effects vary with seasons, time of the day and location on the planet related to the sun. For instance, the rays are strongest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the summer. Threat of UVC rays is negligible, since they are essentially blocked by the ozone layer.

Therefore, the number one risk factor of skin cancer is too much time in the sun. Likewise, a history of spending significant time at tanning salons also increases the risk. By now you know that tanning may give a great look on the surface but caustic harm in the deep.

Other risk factors of developing skin cancer include:

  • A sun-sensitive skin type or fair skin
  • Bad sunburns
  • Family history of melanoma or other skin cancers
  • Personal history of melanoma or any type of skin cancer
  • Having many moles (common or atypical ones)
  • Weakened immunity

See our S-H-A-D-E advice to protect your skin from sun damage. And follow our 9-characteristic guide to carefully examine your skin once a month and look for any spots that are new or changing.

For more information about Cancer Risks & Prevention, visit CancerPreventionDaily.

Photo credit: by linh.ngân