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Many people are simply obsessed with getting a perfect tan. They do not hesitate and expose their bodies to either sun rays or they opt for artificial ways of tanning such as tanning beds. There are many effects of the sun and its rays, both beneficial and harmful. Yes, it is necessary for all people to be exposed to sun for a certain period of time. However, excessive and uncontrollable exposure may be only contra productive and cause serious damage to the skin.

Benefits of Sun Exposure

There are several beneficial effects of UV rays, significant components of the sunlight. Firstly, they are essential triggers for vitamin D production. Namely, human body requires UV from the sun in order to synthesize vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in strengthening of bones and muscles and is engaged in certain processes of the immune system. Furthermore, UV light is also used for treatment of certain skin conditions such as psoriasis. Still even if used as a part of treatment exposure to either natural or artificial UV is strictly controlled. Some scientists believe that the sunlight stimulates the pineal gland to produce tryptamines, chemicals which may improve one's mood.

Side Effects of Sun Exposure

The major problem related to the sunlight is that it is associated with skin cancer. This is actually the leading cause of skin cancer and each of skin cancer types including squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma may occur due to exposure to the sunlight and UV radiation. Apart from skin cancer excessive and uncontrollable exposure to the sun results in sunburns. The skin cells are damaged due to absorption of UV rays and this eventually causes redness of the affected skin, itchiness, discomfort and in extreme cases pain.

Overexposure to UV radiation may interfere in normal functioning of the immune system and suppress its protective function. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to the sunlight is also connected with damage to the eyes especially if they are not well protected with suitable sun glasses. Acute exposure to sun rays may induce so called photokeratitis, serious inflammation of the surface of the eyes.

Exposure to UV rays is a major contributor to rapid aging of the skin. The skin components such as collagen and connective tissue undergo serious damage. This consequently results in loss of skin elasticity, occurrence of wrinkles and pigmentation of the exposed skin. Photo-aging of the skin is cumulative process and it is essential for all people to protect themselves whenever they are exposed to sun. Wearing suitable clothes and adequate sun protection (sunscreen) are highly necessary to prevent any of the previously mentioned harmful effect of the sun.

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