It’s bikini season and sun-related skin damage is a hot topic (excuse my terrible puns). FindMeCure’s database shows 95 clinical trials for skin cancer worldwide, but there’s a whole spectrum of other conditions between the common minor sunburn and skin cancer, so get informed about the various ways excessive and unprotected sun exposure can damage your skin and threaten your well-being.

51K Clinical Trials Available

For starters, even though sun-bathing is generally good for you as it’s an easy and supplement-free way to get your vitamin D, neglecting skin protection can cost you more than a few sleepless nights and a bottle of Panthenol. Don’t make sunburn a regular part of your summer vacations – over time it can accelerate the aging of the skin, lead to the development of pigmented spots and yes, even contribute to the risk of skin cancer.

So, don’t skip the generous dosage of sunscreen and look for a higher SPF (sun protection factor) – at least above 20, especially if your skin is light and/or very sensitive. Don’t worry about not getting a tan, you can still tan using a high SPF sunscreen. For more on sun protection, you can check out this article explaining what SPF means and what kind of protection different SPFs provide. As you can see yourself, sunscreen protects against the harmful UVB rays, so no need to fret about your bronze suntan. Also, keep in mind that most people don’t apply the recommended amount of sunscreen, so when you think it’s enough, apply a bit more (and do so often!).

Now, as I mentioned above, unfortunately, there are many more sun-related conditions other than skin cancer.

  • Photosensitivity or sun allergy often appears as a red or pink rash on the skin up to 24 hours after sun exposure and it’s very, very itchy (trust me, I know). It might also be caused by other factors such as some other disease or some types of medicine, but the most common cause is unprotected or not sufficiently protected sun exposure. If you develop the condition, you may burn more easily and have more pronounced sunburn symptoms. Some natural remedies can be helpful such as fish oil, but do consult a doctor before trying anything.
  • You could also get a sun stroke, though the symptoms are not immediate. Look for: flushed face and redness, hot dry skin, racing heartbeat, confusion and otherwise interrupted thought process. If these are present, try to gradually cool down the body.
  • As you know, some are harmless and some might be cancerous so check with your doctor if you have any concerns… and even if you don’t. You can never be too careful with those things.
  • Polymorphus light eruption is a fancy way to say “itchy”: again one of those oh so pleasant skin conditions that involve rashes and itchiness, and redness. It affects mostly women aged 20 to 40 and people sensitive to sunlight[1] and I of course have that too, because I’m allergic to everything, yay me! It’s nothing too scary and it’s treatable, but it’s unpleasant and significantly limits the amount of time you can spend in the sun.
  • Also – wrinkles. You know how too much sun exposure can lead to premature aging of the skin? Yes, that’s it. The sun might affect the elasticity of the skin and in turn the skin goes saggy and wrinkly.
  • And apart from sun-related rashes, as if those aren’t unpleasant enough, there’s also the heat rash which is caused by excessive sweating and even though it’s more common in children it can really occur at any age. It mostly appears on the neck and chest and you should do your best to keep the area dry. Again, it’s nothing too serious but it’s best to avoid it.

Let’s sum it up this way: avoid the sun between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the harmful rays fall at an almost straight angle and you’re more likely to burn; use sunscreen with a high SPF and apply it generously; spend the early afternoon in the shade if possible and don’t worry too much about your tan (no need to say you should avoid tanning booths as well, I hope).

Article by Nelly Katsarova





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