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  • It's summertime; the sun is shining, the waves are crashing on the beach, and you're laying out getting a nice tan.

  • Everything is going great until you head inside and look in the mirror.

  • Your skin is bright red and you seem to be radiating heat.

  • You got sunburned and the next few days are going to be really uncomfortable.

  • But what is sunburn and why does it happen?

  • When we think of a burn the first thing that comes to mind is a thermal burn from a fire or stove.

  • This is when your body is exposed to extreme heat,

  • and although the sun is definitely a source of extreme heat, a sunburn is not a thermal burn.

  • Sunburn itself is actually a radiation burn;

  • in particular it is caused by the ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun.

  • Ultraviolet radiation is the wavelengths of energy slightly shorter than what we see as the color purple.

  • When they strike your skin in high doses from the sun, they can cause radiation burns.

  • This is actually what causes your skin to turn red and uncomfortable when you spend too much time in the sun,

  • not a thermal burn from the sun's heat.

  • There are of course ways to prevent sunburn as well as treat it to reduce the pain, heat, and swelling.

  • Some of these remedies you probably already know; others might not be so familiar.

  • But first let's look at what actually happens to your body when you get a sunburn.

  • Hopefully you are watching this video before going out and spending the day in the sun.

  • We know that sunburn isn't caused by intense thermal heat because you can get a sunburn even when it's cold out.

  • If you've ever spent the day skiing, snowboarding, or sledding on a cloudless winter day,

  • you've probably gotten a mild sunburn once or twice during the winter season.

  • This is because during all times of the year the sun is bombarding us with ultraviolet radiation.

  • The ozone layer of our atmosphere protects us from much of this radiation--

  • if it didn't we would all have been dead a long time ago--but some does still get through.

  • When the radiation comes in contact with your skin and other cells of your body

  • it causes chemical reactions to occur.

  • What this means is the cells in your body start creating proteins and enzymes that are not necessarily needed at the time.

  • The most common proteins being produced are the ones your body uses to repair and replenish damaged cells.

  • This makes sense because the sun's radiation is literally destroying your body's cells.

  • This flood of proteins is one of the things that causes discomfort as they try to repair the damage the sun is causing.

  • The next thing that happens when the radiation interacts with your body is that blood vessels dilate to increase the amount of blood flow.

  • This is also a reaction your body undertakes to try and repair itself from the damage being done by the sun.

  • It also allows immune cells to reach the skin and combat the biggest health threat caused

  • by the sun's radiation: cancer.

  • It is the increased blood flow and immune response that causes the inflammation and

  • redness associated with sunburn.

  • It takes a little while for your body to start mounting defenses against the sun's radiation,

  • which is why sunburn symptoms normally don't manifest until four to six hours after being

  • burnt.

  • Once your body is exposed to intense amounts of radiation from the sun it immediately tries

  • to protect itself, however, the repair proteins and immune system response need time to ramp

  • up production and disperse throughout the body.

  • So to put it bluntly: sunburn is the sun's radiation destroying the cells of your body.

  • We know that the sunburn is caused by radiation and that it is the body reacting to this radiation

  • that causes the symptoms of sunburn; but what is actually happening to your cells?

  • And is it dangerous?

  • The answers to these questions might surprise you.

  • When we think of a burn we think of an increase in temperature.

  • This actually is not the case within your body when you get sunburnt.

  • Even though you may feel like you are radiating heat, your internal temperature almost always

  • stays at its normal level at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Irritation and dehydration may make you feel hotter, but your actual temperature does not

  • increase because of sunburn.

  • However, the inflammation and biochemical responses your body goes through can cause

  • a slight rise in temperature at the skin's surface, due to more blood and fluids being

  • brought to the sunburnt areas of the body to fix the damage that has been done.

  • The symptoms of sunburn are caused by the body trying to repair itself after being cooked

  • by radiation, but what is the actual damage?

  • When your skin cells are bombarded by the ultraviolet radiation from the sun they begin

  • to cook, and the structures within the cells begin to denature.

  • This means that proteins, lipids, and other molecules that make up your cells, and help

  • them carry out their life functions, begin to change shape or fall apart.

  • When this happens the cell cannot perform the tasks necessary to stay alive and it dies.

  • Now this isn't necessarily a problem as long as your body can replace the cells with

  • new ones.

  • However, this does not always happen.

  • Your cells are able to divide and replace themselves with new cells only a set number

  • of times.

  • This is actually what causes some of the symptoms of aging since your cells stop generating

  • new versions of themselves once they have reached the end of their replication life

  • cycle.

  • But that is a topic for another video.

  • The most dangerous thing radiation does to your cells is alter their DNA.

  • The DNA in every one of your body cells is identical.

  • It's what makes you you.

  • However, changes in the DNA called mutations can cause some life threatening changes in

  • your body.

  • When the radiation enters your cells, and interacts with your genetic material.

  • it can literally rip the DNA apart.

  • This will cause the cell to try and repair your DNA, but mistakes happen, and those mistakes

  • could have drastic consequences.

  • If the mutation occurs in the wrong place it can lead to that cell reproducing uncontrollably.

  • Normally when a cell divides there is a code of DNA that tells the division to stop once

  • completed.

  • However, when this does not happen the cell will continue to divide and replicate itself

  • over and over and over again.

  • We more commonly refer to this process as cancer.

  • Even when the sunburn heals, if just one cell has DNA that has been mutated to cause it

  • to reproduce uncontrollably, you could get cancer.

  • Your body does have ways of identifying and repairing damaged DNA, but if one really bad

  • mistake is missed, and the cancerous cell begins to duplicate, your body can rarely

  • do anything about it.

  • The reason for this is because cancer is the uncontrolled division of your own cells.

  • Your immune system does not recognize cancer as a threat because it is not a foreign pathogen

  • that is harming your body, it is your own cells.

  • This means that the immune system almost never identifies cancerous cells as harmful because

  • it just thinks they are a normal part of your own body.

  • And that is why cancer is so dangerous and hard to cure.

  • The most common form of cancer associated with sunburn is skin cancer, which can be

  • removed by a doctor pretty easily.

  • However, if the cancerous cells get into the bloodstream and are carried throughout your

  • body via the circulatory system the consequences could be dire.

  • That is why it is always important to take precautions when being out in the sun for

  • long periods of time.

  • But don't worry, we are here to help protect you from the sun's radiation.

  • Let's start with preventative methods for protecting your body from sunburn.

  • In terms of staying healthy it is alway better to prevent something harmful than to treat

  • it after the fact.

  • We all know that when spending long periods of time out in the sun we should wear sunscreen.

  • But did you know medical professionals recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher?

  • This is because a lower SPF provides little to no protection at all, and is not effective

  • in preventing sunburn.

  • Medical professionals also recommend using water-resistant and broad-spectrum sunscreen

  • as well to reduce the risk of it being washed off by water or sweat.

  • Also, something we take for granted is the power of shade to protect us from the harmful

  • UV rays of the sun.

  • Wearing clothing that is thick enough that light does not pass through will provide protection

  • from the sun's radiation as well.

  • But what should you do if you get sunburn?

  • There are a lot of so-called remedies out there, but what do the professionals actually

  • recommend?

  • Most agree that there is no silver bullet that will cure all the pain and symptoms of

  • sunburn once it occurs.

  • What they do agree on is that after your skin has been exposed to intense amounts of sunlight,

  • you should immediately begin treating it to reduce the effects of the sunburn.

  • It is recommended that you take cool showers and gently pat yourself dry to avoid irritation.

  • Make sure to use moisturizer that contains aloe vera, and for more intense sunburns apply

  • hydrocortisone.

  • Both of these products reduce pain and irritation.

  • Also, aspirin or ibuprofen may be used to help block pain receptors and reduce swelling

  • of the burn.

  • A key thing to remember when you get a sunburn is to drink lots of water.

  • When sunburnt you lose water as the liquid in your body is drawn to the skin's surface

  • to help with the repair process of the damaged cells.

  • This means water is not circulating through the rest of the body at the levels it should.

  • When this happens it can lead to dehydration, which can cause all sorts of other problems

  • within your body.

  • Sunburn is preventable, but we are all human, and bound to get too much sun at some point

  • in our lives.

  • Just remember that a sunburn is caused by radiation, and along with being uncomfortable,

  • it can be harmful or even deadly in some circumstances.

  • When you get sunburn, radiation from the sun is literally destroying the cells that make

  • up your body.

  • And although your body is really good at repairing itself, if the radiation causes a change in

  • your DNA that is missed by your repair mechanisms it could lead to cancer.

  • So do yourself a favor and put on sunscreen next time you plan to spend the day out in

  • the sun.

  • Now check outHow To Stop Any Pain In Minutes.”

  • Or watchHow Long Would We Have to Live if the Sun Went Out?”

It's summertime; the sun is shining, the waves are crashing on the beach, and you're laying out getting a nice tan.

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What Actually Happens When You Get a Sunburn

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    Summer posted on 2021/08/07
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