People with a deep, golden tan are often said to have a healthy glow. Even though exposure to the sun can relieve the discomfort of certain conditions such as arthritis and asthma, the dangers of excessive exposure often outweigh the benefits. Not only can the sun's rays cause you to look older, they can bring on life-threatening conditions as below........... The Facts
Ultraviolet rays account for about 6 percent of the sun's rays. These harmful rays cause undesirable effects on your skin. The worst time to be out in the sun is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. because that is when the sun's rays are the strongest. Effects of the sun vary due to the atmosphere, time of day and season. They can also depend on how close to the equator you are. Sunburn
Sunburn is one of the most common effects of the sun on the skin. You will usually notice the symptoms of a sunburn a few hours after exposure. Severe reactions can occur within 12 hours, with symptoms such as pain, extreme fatigue, blistering, swelling, chills, fever, nausea and even delirium. Contact your dermatologist if your pain becomes unbearable, as he can prescribe a topical ointment to help alleviate the swelling. Aging
Excessive exposure to the sun can cause you to look much older. The sun's rays change the skin's texture by weakening its elasticity. This causes the skin to sag and appear leathery. Sun worshipers are often plagued with wrinkles as well, making them look 10 to 20 years older than what they are. This is not an immediate effect, but a cumulative effect that gets worse over time. Cancer
One of the most devastating effects of sun on the skin is the development of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma are all forms of skin cancer caused by ultraviolet rays. Squamous cell carcinoma is characterized by a crusty, scaly raised bump and can spread to other parts of the body. Basal cell carcinoma appears as a wound that won't heal, or a flat, rounded skin abnormality that does not spread to other parts of the body. Both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma have a high cure rate, up to 95 percent of cases. Melanoma is more deadly, causing 80 percent of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma looks like a large, asymmetrical mole. Prevention
Early prevention is the key to beautiful, healthy skin. Avoiding sun exposure during peak hours is ideal, but not always possible. When going out in the sun, it is important to apply sunblock with an SPF value of 15 or higher. Choose a waterproof sunblock if you are going to be in the water. Reapply often, especially if you have been sweating or swimming.