The sun's rays make us feel good, and in the short term, make us look good. But our love affair isn't a two-way street: Exposure to sun causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces. Consider this: One woman at age 40 who has protected her skin from the sun actually has the skin of a 30-year-old!
We often link a glowing complexion with good health, but skin color from being in the sun – or in a tanning booth – actually speeds up the effects of aging and increases your risk for developing skin cancer. Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place ...view middle of the document...
This rapid growth results in tumors, which are either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are less serious types and make up 95% of all skin cancers. Also referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers, they are highly curable when treated early. Melanoma, made up of abnormal skin pigment cells called melanocytes, is the most serious form of skin cancer and causes 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Left untreated, it can spread to other organs and is difficult to control.
UV burns the skin as well. Sunburn is a burn that occurs when skin cells are damaged. This damage to the skin is caused by the absorption of energy from UV rays. Extra blood flows to the damaged skin in an attempt to repair it, which is why your skin turns red when you are sunburnt. Over-exposure to UV radiation has a risky suppressing effect on the immune system. Scientists believe that sunburn can change the distribution and function of disease-fighting white blood cells in humans for up to 24 hours after exposure to the sun. Repeated over-exposure to UV radiation can cause even more damage to the body's immune system.
Prolonged exposure to UV or high intensities of UV damages the tissues of eyes and can cause a ‘burning’ of the eye surface, called ‘snow blindness’ or photokeratitis. The effects usually disappear within a couple of days, but may lead to further complications later in life. In 1998, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that even low amounts of sunlight could increase the risk of developing eye damage such as cataracts, pterygium and pinguecula. UV damage to the eyes is cumulative, so it is never too late to start protecting the eyes.
There are plenty of other bodily effects that UV can contribute to, but the above are just a faction.