Like many things in this world, we know that overindulging in all of the good things in life is never a good idea. Whether it be chocolate, company, even the sun, could realistically have negative effects on our overall health and wellbeing. Throughout the cold months, we anticipate warm summer days and basking in the sun to achieve that perfect bronzy glow but how many of us tend to unintentionally take it overboard?
We all have heard about the dangers of overexposure to the sun and skin cancer, but more than half of us take this warning with a grain of salt, often shrugging it off in an entitled manner of, “oh, that could never happen to me”. News Flash: It can, and it will. Does this mean that you’re 100% guaranteed to get skin cancer from the sun? Not exactly, however, not far fetched either. But overexposure can lead to other, less severe changes in your appearance and skin texture, like sunspots and wrinkles.
Additionally, it’s important to mention that the sun, in moderation, offers multiple benefits that can lead to positive impacts on our skin, health and overall wellbeing. Vitamin D is necessary in our everyday life and exposing ourselves to healthy doses can offer multiple benefits such as:
- Reduced risk of the flu
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Healthy bone growth for children and adults
- Healthy pregnancy
- Reduced cancer progression
- Healthy glow
- Increased serotonin levels “Mood Booster”
- Decreased risk of depression
To get the most out of the sun and reap the benefits of Vitamin D in a healthy manner, it is recommended to expose bare skin for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times a week. This will allow your body to absorb sufficient levels Vitamin D, giving you all the good stuff. However, those that avoid the sun at all costs are not doing themselves any good either. Vitamin D deficiency is quite common and when we deprive ourselves of the positive effects of sun exposure, more than 200 genes in our bodies are affected and impaired. Vitamin D Deficiency can lead to:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
So now that we know that the sun has positive and negative effects, the real question is, can you get skin cancer from the sun? The answer to that is yes, however it’s a lot more complex than a straightforward answer.
Believe it or not, one in every five Americans will develop some form of skin. According to skincancer.org, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the United States than all other cancers combined. Some of the most common forms of skin cancer are:
- Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer
- Actinic Keratosis
- Basal Cell Carcinoma
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
However, it’s worth noting that contrary to popular belief, not all skin cancer is caused by overexposure to the sun. In fact, some of the most common forms of skin cancer can develop on areas of the skin that are most often not over exposed to sunlight.
There are other factors that play a part in your vulnerability to developing skin cancer such as skin type and sun exposure type. Some forms of skin cancer are caused from shorts, intense sun exposure that leads to blistering sunburn rather than long hours of being out in direct sunlight, whereas, other forms of skin cancer are caused by someone's lack of melanin in the skin for additional protection. Additionally, tanning beds have been proven to be a human carcinogen and the risks are extremely high, especially with routine sessions.
Of course, it is always worthwhile to push the importance of SPF use all year round to protect yourself from overexposure to UVA and UVB rays. Wearing sun-protective clothing, limiting time in the sunlight, and routine self skin-checks are strongly recommended. When detected early, the easier it is treat.