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If you are like me, then you are a sun worshipper! I love feeling the sun on my skin warming me from the outside in. If we want be politically correct I can say that I sit in the sun to increase my levels of Vitamin D.
As an African-American living slightly below the Mason-Dixon line in Washington, D.C., when I was a young person I thought that the slight melanin in my skin would protect me from sunburn.
As I moved into my young adulthood and began to travel to places where the sun was stronger, like the Caribbean, not protecting my skin, I was amazed to get my first sunburn!
It was red, painful and hot to the touch. The lightest of clothing hurt to rub against it and it lasted for two to four days.
Ultraviolet light (UV light) is what stimulates the pigments in your skin to tan or become darker. This is the body’s way of protecting your skin from the UV rays.
UV light is generated from sunlight and its wavelengths are too short to be seen by the naked eye. UV light can be further divided into three different bands of light.
They are ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet C (UVC). Since only UVA and UVB reach the earth’s atmosphere these are the wavelengths that we are concerned about for tanning or sunburn.
Our body can only produce so much melanin protection and if you are out in the sun for too long or if the sun is too strong then your skin could be damaged. UV light can pass through clouds or haze and still affect the skin, causing burning.
UV rays can reflect off of water or sand and impact the skin, too. This means that we cannot be sure how much in the way of UV rays we are being exposed to.
Sunburn is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light (UV light). It damages the layers of the skin by damaging the DNA. This damage could create premature aging of the skin.
If you damage your skin repeatedly you increase your likelihood of developing skin cancer. Damaging your skin could also create burns severe enough to create blisters or infection.
The best treatment for sunburn is prevention. Use sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB frequently and often.