The Sun and Your Skin

Learn more about the sun's effect on your skin!

Sun Exposure

A little bit of sun can be beneficial if your skin is protected. However; if you do not protect your skin from the sun, it cause sunburn, wrinkles, and skin cancers.

What’s so harmful about the sun’s rays?

The sun produces ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays that can cause sunburns and damage the skin.

The Effects of Sun Exposure


The sun is most intense between 10 am to 4 pm. Sun exposure will not only cause you pain but can cause your skin to become irritated, tender, swollen, and blisters may appear. Even on a cloudy day, a person can still get sunburned. If you get sunburned, aloe will help to soothe your skin.


People who are constantly outdoors and do not use protection often times look older than they are due to sun damage. These changes to the skin i.e. wrinkles, age spots, etc., can develop into skin cancer.

Skin Cancer

90 percent of skin cancers occur due to sun exposure. The common types of skin cancer are basal carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. (

Protecting Your Skin

The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Cancer Society suggest that individuals should wear SPF 15 or above when going outside. When doing any activities that may make your skin wet, remember to apply water resistant sunscreen. It is important to reapply sunscreen every two hours. Don’t forget to protect your eyes and scalp by wearing sunglasses and a hat.

Sunlight and Vitamin D

A short period of time in the sun (10-15 minutes a few times a week) can give your body the vitamin D that it needs. You can also get your vitamin D through eating oily fish like tuna and salmon as well as from fortified foods like milk and breakfast cereals. You may also want to talk with your health care provider about possible vitamin D supplements.


Why are tanning salons so harmful to your skin?

Unlike the sun, tanning beds have higher levels of ultraviolet rays, which can damage the skin. This can cause aging, wrinkles, and increase the risk of skin cancer. In addition, indoor tanning can cause skin irritation and dry skin.  The American Academy of Dermatology has reported that 1.3 million new skin cancer cases are likely to be diagnosed in the U.S. this year due to tanning.

What are the alternatives?

  • A spray tan
  • A variety of bronzing lotions which change the color of your skin progressively