Today is offically the first day of summer! That means lots and lots of sunshine to come! It also means that the importance of protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun is at an all time high. Knowing what a sunburn is can help you to better understand why protecting your skin is so important!

What is a sunburn?

Sunburn is the skins response to overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Even as little as 10 minutes of intense UV exposer can burn the skin causing redness, tenderness and swelling. The skin will also begin to loose moisture and it can feel tight and uncomfortable. The skin will thicken and produce melanin pigment in an attempt to stop the UV rays from penetrating through to the deeper layers of the skin and damaging the DNA of the cells. This is how you tan. If DNA is damaged and it is unable to repair itself, skin cancer may occur.

Even one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life. A person’s risk for melanoma, the most serious and potentially fatal form of skin cancer, doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns. The two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are also directly related to sun accumulation over many years. The most common locations for these cancers are sun-exposed areas: the face, ears and hands.

It is so important to take the proper daily precautions to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. Sunscreen should be worn 365 days of the year. The sun actually beats down on us every single one those days, even on a cloudy day or in the winter. When selecting your sunscreen, choose and SPF of at least 30 and make sure your sunscreen contains one of the following ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or parsol 1789 (avobenzone). This will ensure that when you step out into the sun, your skin is protected from 97 % of UVB rays and you have proper protection for UVA rays as well. Protecting your skin is essential to your health and well-being.