You see a ‘beautiful’ tan and your immediate thought might be that it is healthy looking, however that tanned look is actually your skin’s response to the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet rays from the sun penetrate into the upper layers of unprotected skin, quickly damaging skin cells even before you start showing any signs of sunburn or tan. That “healthy glow” is caused by the release of enzymes by your skin’s defense mechanism, in an attempt to repair the damaged cells – basically your body’s ‘cry for help’. The intense redness of over-exposed, sunburned skin, is due to the increased blood flow caused by the release of chemicals or enzymes by the damaged skin. Over time, your body’s repair efforts may end up leading to skin cancer.
Skin cancer is basic term for several different forms of cancer. Basal cell carcinoma , is the most common form of skin cancer and usually affects the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders and back. This type of cancer does not generally spread to other parts of the body. Squamous cell carcinoma, is the second most common form of skin cancer and usually affects the face, neck, hands, ears, lips, shoulders, arms, back and bald scalps. This type of cancer does have the ability to spread more often than basal cell. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and the least common form, however the number of melanoma cases over the past ten years has increased more than any other form of cancer. It can spread quickly if not treated early.
Following are a few interesting facts to consider the next time you are thinking of bathing your skin in the sun’s rays. One blistering sunburn as youngster more than doubles a person’s chance of developing skin cancer later in life. The regular use of sun protection throughout childhood can reduce the risk of skin cancer by 80%. Over 90% of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure, however less than 33% of adults, teens and children routinely use sunscreen and less than half of all teens. If that doesn’t make you think, here’s one more: The aging affects on your skin caused by the sun can be seen by the time you are in your 20’s!