You probably had, at least, one sunburn in your lifetime. Maybe even more. You also probably know that sunburns aren’t good. Especially when you had more than 5 sunburns as a child your skin cancer risk increased tremendously.

As you’ve already read before getting exposure to the sun is very important for sufficient Vitamin D levels. Additionally getting sun exposure on a regular basis increases your mood and decreases your stress levels.

Unfortunately, you can get too much sun.

Your skin consists of several layers, but for reasons of simplicity let’s assume there is an outer layer and an inner layer. Your outer layer contains a pigment called melanin. The more sun you get, the more melanin gets produced, which leads to a darker skin. 

If you’re staying in the sun for too long you usually get a sunburn. The sun’s UV rays penetrate the outer skin layer and pass to your inner layer, where they can damage or even kill cells. 

The exposure to too much sun is causing the skin to lose its elasticity and causes premature aging. One extremely popular case was this truck driver who appears to have two different faces. His left side of the face was always exposed to the sun while driving, which caused damage and premature aging.

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Recurring exposure to too much sun can cause much damage to your skin and finally lead to skin cancer, also known as melanoma.

Although sunscreen is promoted to prevent skin cancer, some studies indicate that it might be part of the problem. At least some types of sunscreen.

If you are going for sunscreen, you should buy one that blocks both UVA & UVB rays. There is much more too, but UVA is mainly leading to skin cancer while UVB is responsible for the redness when you have a sunburn, but it also contributes to skin cancer.

The worst thing you can do is getting a sunscreen with UVB but no UVA protection. This way you won’t notice any redness and stay in the sun longer while the UVA damages your skin tremendously.

The best way to get the most out of the sun is to limit your exposure to 15-30 minutes maximum. This should usually be enough to produce enough Vitamin D, but not too much to increase your risk of skin cancer.

If you want to get tanned, it is suggested that you take your time with it and let your body adjust to the sun. Spending 30 minutes outside for a week or two and then increasing the amount as you go.

Steps to take: 

  • Go into the sun for 15-30 minutes, but afterwards, get into the shade.
  • Check your sunscreen for UVA & UVB protection

Sources:

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