Eczema and Sunbaking

Here in Australia our summers can be very hot.  Although a little bit of sun may help some people’s eczema and psoriasis, too much can be very damaging and very painful.  Enjoying the sun whilst avoiding sunburn and skin damage is the secret to an enjoyable Australian summer.

What happens when we sunbake?

When we sunbake the UV rays from the sun penetrate the skin.  This causes damage to the skin’s cell molecules, in particular the DNA in the cell nuclei.  By damaging the cells DNA, the function of the cell is impaired, and thus complications can begin to occur.

The body will largely repair the immediate DNA damage, but some can be inaccurately repaired.  Problems arise when the inaccurately repaired DNA is passed on to new cells when the cell divides.  An accumulation of these cells may gradually lead to skin photoaging or eventually skin cancer.

The risks of sunburn

Too much exposure to the sun at any one time is commonly referred to as ‘sunburn’.  Sunburn is the classic symptom of overexposure to the sun.  You can experience pain, warmth, redness and swelling as a result.  The excessive ultra violet rays cause the body to release chemicals that result in these symptoms.  It is here where the damage begins.

Over exposure to the sun will also cause the blood vessels to swell, which in turn contributes to the characteristic symptoms of sunburn.

Tanning is our skin’s response to UV light.  It is a protective reaction to prevent further injury to your skin from the sun.  However, it does not prevent skin cancer.  The damaged DNA will stimulate an increase in cell production and the result is several extra layers of epidermis being formed.

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