The Dangers of Sun Exposure: How to Protect Yourself

Numerous research studies show that spending time outdoors and getting exposed to sunlight is essential for our mental health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, spending time outdoors doesn’t come without risks. A small amount of sun exposure is beneficial, but prolonged exposure poses significant health risks. Moreover, the effects are cumulative, meaning that the damage exacerbates over the years.

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Read on to discover more about the dangers of sun exposure and learn how to protect yourself effectively.

Premature Aging

Sun exposure is one of the main factors that accelerate the aging of the skin. As they penetrate the skin, ultraviolet rays cause fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Moreover, ultraviolet radiation can give the skin a dry, discolored, and leathery look because it triggers pigment changes in the skin cells. You may not notice the effects of sun exposure on the skin from one day or one month to another. However, the more you expose yourself to UV rays, the faster your skin loses its elasticity and youthful look. The damage is unnoticeable in the short term but very pronounced in the long term.

To evade the risk of premature aging, wear sunscreen daily, not just on clear, sunny days since UV rays can pass through the clouds. Avoid the sun in the middle of the day, when UV rays are the strongest.

Eye Diseases and Injuries

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Ultraviolet radiation affects not just our skin health but also our eyesight. Prolonged sun exposure can result in blurred vision in the short term. In the long term, the damage to the eyes can be life-altering. An example of a UV-related eye condition is macular degeneration which occurs as ultraviolet light gradually damages the retina and macula. Macular degeneration manifests as significant loss of vision or farsightedness. Excessive sun exposure throughout one’s lifetime can also cause cataracts in older age. Another critical thing that everyone should be aware of is that UV rays can cause the cornea to burn.

Considering all these risks, protecting your eyes from ultraviolet radiation should be a top priority. Always wear sunglasses when doing any activity outdoors. For example, if you enjoy reading on your patio or in the park, consider sunglasses with reading bifocals. They will protect your eyes without causing you any reading inconvenience.

Skin Cancer

When it comes to the dangers of sun exposure, skin cancer is the scariest possibility. Ultraviolet radiation is the primary cause of three different types of skin cancer: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma is the most severe form, responsible for three times as many deaths as any other form of skin cancer. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are a lot more common than melanoma, but thankfully, they’re less harmful. If diagnosed and treated early, these types of cancers are easily curable. Medical professionals agree that avoiding ultraviolet radiation reduces one’s risk of developing skin cancer. So, always wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothing when you go outdoors.

As pleasant as it is to spend time outdoors, remember to protect yourself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.

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