Did you know that when you suffer from sunburn you are potentially storing up problems for your health in later life? The consequences of sunburn go beyond the discomfort you feel when your skin is red and peeling. Sunburn can also result in long-term complications and health risks. Find out about the dangers of sunburn and what you can do to avoid damaging your skin in this way.
Dangers of Sunburn
- Premature skin aging. When your skin is repeatedly exposed to the sun it is damaged by the sun’s UV rays. You don’t have to burn your skin to suffer from premature skin aging but sunburned skin tends to look older more quickly. See the signs of premature skin aging in fine lines and wrinkles, discolored skin, sun spots, sagging skin, freckles, and rough patches of skin.
- Worsens skin conditions. Some skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can flare up when you burn your skin in the sun.
- Skin cancer. The most serious long-term threat from sunburn is the increased risk of skin cancer. If you suffer five or more sunburns you are at double the risk of skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. When children and babies suffer sunburn they dramatically increase their risk of cancer in later life, which is why it is so important to protect children’s skin from the sun. You also need to protect your skin as an adult so that you minimize your risk of suffering from skin cancer.
- Eye damage. Prolonged over-exposure to the sun can actually burn the eyes, resulting in pain and vision problems that can be impossible to reverse. Always wear sunglasses to protect the eyes.
- Infection. Bacteria may find its way into your skin through cracks and blisters caused by the sunburn. If infection takes hold it can be serious – visit a doctor if you see signs of infection in the affected skin.
How to Avoid Health Dangers of Sunburn
The damage done by sunburn and exposure to the sun is irreversible so it is important to prevent problems occurring in the first place. Avoid overexposure to the sun, particularly when it is at its strongest. Seek the shade wherever possible and avoid sunbathing – try a safe tanning method instead. Cover up with sunscreen and be particularly careful when you are outdoors around water.