“Is skin cancer really caused by exposure to the sun?”


Is skin cancer really caused by exposure to the sun? 

Is skin cancer really caused by exposure to the sun? _ ichhori.com

The sun’s rays make us feel well and make us look good in the short term. The majority of wrinkles and age spots on our faces are caused by sun exposure. We frequently equate a healthy complexion with a glowing complexion, but skin colour produced by exposure to the sun – or from a tanning booth – actually accelerates the aging process and the danger of skin cancer is increased. The majority of skin changes we associate with aging are caused by exposure to the sun.

The sun’s UV rays damages the skin’s elastin fibres over time. The skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to return to its original form when these fibres break down. The skin is also more prone to bruises and tears, which takes longer to recover. Sun damage to the skin may not be visible when a person is young, but it will show up later in life.

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer , but UV light from tanning beds is also dangerous. When exposed to sunlight in the winter, one is at the same danger as when he/she is exposed in the summer. Sun exposure over time primarily causes basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, whereas severe blistering sunburns, usually before the age of 18 can lead to melanoma later in life. The eyes and the skin around the eyes are also affected by ultrasound A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Exposure to the sun can cause cataracts, eyelid cancer, and possibly macular degeneration.

How the sun changes the skin

When you are exposed to the sun, you may be more likely to develop the following symptoms:

·         Pre-cancerous (actinic keratosis) and cancerous (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma) skin lesions caused by a reduction in the immunological function of the skin.

·         Benign tumours

·         Wrinkles (fine and coarse)

·         Freckles

·         Mottled pigmentation which refers to discoloured areas of the skin.

·         Sallowness which is a skin discoloration that leaves the skin yellow in colour.

·         Telangiectasias – dialted blood vessels beneath the skin.

·         Elastosis – the breakdown of elastic and collagen tissue (causing lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin).

Exposure to UV rays

UV (ultraviolet) radiation is a type of energy that is naturally emitted by the sun and artificially emitted by sunbeds. UV rays can cause damage to the skin in two ways. Both types can cause skin cancer.

·         UVB is responsible for most sunburns.

·         UVA penetrates deep into the skin. It ages the skin yet has a significantly lower risk of sunburn.

·         UVC, the third and most harmful type of UV rays, is entirely screened out by the ozone layer and never reaches the earth’s surface.

The DNA in the skin cells can be damaged by too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds. The cells’ DNA instructs them on how to function. If enough DNA damage accumulates over time, cells can begin to grow out of control, leading to skin cancer.

Skin cancer can affect anyone, although certain people are at a higher risk than others, such as those who burn easily. It is vital to realise that sunburns do not just occur on vacation or in hot, sunny places. Getting sunburnt raises the chances of developing skin cancer. Sunburn is the result of skin damage and it is the body’s attempt to repair it. It is a sure sign that too much UV radiation has harmed the DNA in the skin cells. When compared to never being burned, getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple the chance of melanoma skin cancer.

Skin cancers are more common in people who live in areas with high ambient solar irradiance, are more common in sun-sensitive people, occur primarily on sun-exposed body parts, are more common in people who have had a lot of sun exposure, and are more common in people who have benign sun-related skin conditions. The epidemiological evidence has grown in both number and quality over the last 40 years, most recently providing direct evidence that sun exposure causes mutations in essential tumour suppressor genes in BCC, SCC, and melanoma. Many specific questions still require complete or more compelling responses.

Brief sun exposure

According to dermatologists, even brief exposure throughout the year can cause substantial harm to people with fair skin. Driving with the sunroof open or walking around outdoor shopping centres during peak hours (10am-4pm), exposes the skin to harmful UV rays. Squamous cell carcinoma is linked to these cumulative, regular, exposures. Squamous cell cancer is thought to account for up to 20% of skin cancer deaths, while being less dangerous than melanoma.

Tanning beds and skin cancer

Exposure to ultraviolet light from tanning beds can cause wrinkles, sun spots, and freckles in the skin. Sunlamps and tanning beds are dangerous because the UV rays they emit can harm the skin. Dermatologists strongly advise against using tanning beds or sunlamps. There is increasing evidence that they may increase the risk of melanoma.

Sunburns, sun tan and skin cancer

There is no such thing as a sun tan that is good for the skin. Skin damage can be detected by a change in the natural skin colour. According to research, tanning dramatically increases the chances of getting skin cancer. An increase in melanin, the pigment that causes the skin to tan, is a symptom of damage. When the skin is exposed to UV radiation, it produces more melanin in an attempt to protect itself from future harm. The chances of developing sun-related diseases increases every time the skin colour changes following exposure to the sun. The sun’s UVA and UVB radiation cause skin damage. Early wrinkles, skin cancer, and other skin disorder occur as a result of this. Even if a person does not burn, spending a lot of time in the sun might lead to skin cancer.

It is a frequent misconception that one cannot get sunburned if it is cloudy outdoors; however this is not true. Even when there is cloud cover, the sun can harm the skin and eyes and cause long-term damage. Even if the weather is cloudy, one should use sunscreen to protect oneself.


If the damaged skin is exposed to sunlight for several years, it is more likely to develop one of the forms of skin cancer. The risk of developing these cancers increases when people are exposed to UV light although it may not be the only cause of the disease. While the exact association is unknown, intermittent (occasional) exposure and exposure throughout childhood and adolescence appear to be key predictors of basal cell carcinoma and cutaneous malignant melanoma. Squamous cell tumours are more commonly associated with high amounts of persistent exposure, such as working outdoors.


Some skin cancer risk factors, such as age, family history, and pigmentation, are uncontrollable. It is, nonetheless, critical to manage those that you have control over. Use sunscreen and minimise the amount of time you spend in the sunlight to protect yourself from the sun. You should also avoid tanning beds and sunlamps, as both have been linked to skin cancer by medical researchers. It is also recommended performing regular skin checks to look for abnormal moles or anything else that fits the ABCD skin cancer diagnosis criteria.


1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10985-sun-exposure-and-skin-cancer#:~:text=Ultraviolet%20(UV)%20radiation%20from%20the,as%20exposure%20during%20the%20summertime.

2. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/sun-uv-and-cancer/how-does-the-sun-and-uv-cause-cancer

3. https://health.ucsd.edu/news/features/pages/2016-09-06-listicle-10-skin-cancer-myths.aspx

4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10994463/

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