Effects of Excessive Sun Exposure and How to Combat It

Feeling that warm sun on your face in summer; nothing quite beats it. However, too much sun comes at a cost. Knowing the right balance is key, as is knowing how to best protect yourself. In addition to increased wrinkles and sunspots, too much sun can put you at a higher risk for skin cancer. Skin cancer happens to be the most common of all kinds of cancer.

Of those, basal and squamous cell skin cancers are the most common, with more than five million basal and squamous cell skin cancers diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society.  Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, killing one person every hour, with 178,000 new cases diagnosed in this country this year alone.


About 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to sunlight is all that is recommended. After that, you should be protected with clothing or sun screen. A small amount of UV rays is good for you, as it creates vitamin D, which absorbs calcium. However, many health professionals suggest you always wear sunscreen, even before venturing outside. If you are out in the sun too long without the proper protection, you will notice the following short-term effects:

  • Red skin: This is due to an increase in blood flow, coming on over time or happening right away. It can often be tough to know if you are burned until you have gone indoors.
  • Hot skin: You may feel hot to the touch, feverish almost, or you can get goosebumps and even feel a slight chill.
  • Pain: Sunburns are painful and often don’t ease up for at least a day or two, with severe burns lasting days and even up to a week.
  • Blisters
  • Dehydration
  • Peeling: This is how your body sheds dead skin cells.
  • Itchy or tight skin.

Prolonged sun exposure also comes with these long-term effects:

  • Skin changes.
  • Early aging: wrinkled, tight or leathery skin and dark spots.
  • Lowered immune system.
  • Eye injuries due to UV ray damage.
  • Skin cancer.

The Basics of Sun Exposure

The sun gives off harmful rays of light referred to as ultraviolet (UV) rays, of which there are three different types: UVA, UVB and UVC.

UVA rays are the most common, followed by UVB rays which comprise less sun exposure yet are more intense, followed by UVC rays, which are the worst. No need to worry about that last one, though, as our earth’s ozone layer blocks them.

How to Combat It

Preventing excessive sun exposure starts with being aware and preparing for a day outside. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Stay in the shade when possible
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear light clothing
  • Wear SPF 15 at minimum
  • Wear UV ray-blocking sunglasses
  • Stay away from tanning beds
  • Re-apply sunscreen after going in the water or sweating excessively

In conclusion, if you do suffer a burn, apply Scarfade to reduce the chances of scarring from severe burns and peeling!