Does Visible Sunlight Cause Skin Cancer?
Sunscreen is one of those things that is always in style. It is in style because it does a lot to protect your skin and keep you from getting sunburn, the main cause of skin cancer.
Sunscreen protects against ultraviolet light, or sunlight, which is the type of rays that hit your skin and can be harmful. Ultraviolet rays include those that come from direct sunlight and those that are emitted from artificial sources like tanning booths.
Although we would all like to stay away from the latter type of rays, we cannot. In fact, exposure to the sun without some sort of sun protection is just as healthy as being under the sun for too long.
The sun provides some health benefits too
UV radiation actually helps to rejuvenate and heal your cells, while at the same time reducing the risk of many kinds of cancer. However, prolonged or excessive exposure to UV radiation can lead to skin cancer and other potentially deadly diseases.
To keep from getting sunburn and the many debilitating effects of UV radiation, make sure you apply sunscreen on a regular basis. Sunscreens were created to block out UV rays while providing a high degree of sun protection.
However, not all sunscreens are created equally. Many sunscreen manufacturers claim that their product protects against both UV-A and B radiation.
While the Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to use these two terms interchangeably, the FDA has not approved any sunscreen products for use against melanoma.
This is largely due to the lack of research into the possible mechanisms of action of sunscreen in relation to melanoma. Not only do we need more knowledge about the mechanism of action of sunscreens to avoid the risks of skin cancer, but we also need more information about the benefits.
Sunscreens provide an excellent line of defense against harmful UV-A rays while increasing your skin’s moisture content. There is some evidence that supports the idea that long-term sun exposure may actually slow down the aging process.
Long-term sunscreens protect your skin from damaging UV-B rays
Which are also responsible for causing sunburns and cataracts. Additionally, most sunscreens are water-based, which means that they will not clog pores or prevent oil from building up on your face.
We now know that UV-A causes DNA mutations in skin cells that cause skin to age prematurely. We also know that UV-B causes oxidative stress in skin cells that causes wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and skin discoloration.
How does sunscreen accomplish all of this?
The photochemical reaction is the explanation. Sunscreens block the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun and in so doing, interfere with DNA transcription in living cells.
It is important to note that the above-mentioned mechanisms of action are primarily linked to photo-aging. However, there has been some evidence that long-term sun exposure can also cause free radical formation, a known skin cancer risk.
Other theories state that sun exposure increases the levels of mutagens and carcinogens in the atmosphere, which can then cause skin cancer
There is no conclusive evidence linking any of these mechanisms of action, but understanding the basic biological mechanisms behind them can help you avoid overexposure to the sun, which can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer.
Regardless of the exact mechanisms linking skin cancer and sun exposure, the best protection against this risk is still to avoid overexposure altogether. While there are many products available today that claim to protect against sun damage, the best strategy is still to use sunscreen daily.
Unfortunately, the cost of sunscreen varies greatly, with some products costing as little as a few cents per application. For this reason, many people choose to supplement their sunscreen usage with sunscreens sold at the drug store or grocery store.
Sunscreens sold at your local pharmacy will be cheaper than those sold online or through specialty retailers, but they should still provide adequate protection.
Regardless of the type of sunscreen you purchase, your sunscreen should always be reapplied after swimming or being exposed to harsh cleaners and soap.
In addition, sun exposure may have already weakened your sunscreen, so reapplying is necessary to strengthen the protection. Finally, remember that sunscreens do not work alone. They need to be used in conjunction with your regular sunscreen to achieve full protection.
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