How Harmful Is Damage From The Sun?

It's deceiving question to answer: can the sun kill you? Rolling out a beach towel and basking in the sun's rays sounds like enjoyable way to spend a sunny afternoon—but what about the potentially negative effects from long-term sun exposure? Doctors and researchers believe they know a lot when it comes to sun damage, but the everyday person is likely less informed. In fact, invisible ultraviolet rays (UV) from the sun can penetrate deep into the skin, causing damage to connective tissues and ultimately boost the risk of later developing skin cancer—the most common form of cancer in the United States. Other types of rays, like UVB, pose a lesser threat of melanoma cancer and cause less damage compared to UV radiation, while UVC rays are soaked up by the atmosphere before ever reaching your skin at all. Although skin cancer is the U.S.'s most diagnosed form of cancer, with 3.5 million new cases each year, treatment for benign (noncancerous) diagnoses has increased by a whopping 77 percent.

How can we protect ourselves? What should be the minimum sun protection factor (SPF) used to prevent superficial damage like pesky sunburns? This playlist takes you through the ins and outs of basic skin protection, potentially damaging effects of radiation and a few corrective solutions for when the sun shines just a little too bright. Check it out and soak up some knowledge on how to stay on the sun's good side.

Written by Curiosity Staff August 27, 2014

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