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Why Do We Get Sun Burnt? — ‘The Why’

Welcome to the newest edition of The Why.  “Why do we get sun burnt?” you ask? Good question especially now that summer is on. We lie out in the sun hoping we will soon become a golden god or goddess, but instead what happens is we walk away from out beach towels and lounge chairs so red we look like a lobster that’s been left in the pot a bit too long.

As per usual though, let’s do a bit of review before we get to the answer. According to sites such as WebMD when one gets sunburn, the “skin turns red and hurts. If the burn is severe” one develops “swelling and sunburn blisters.” One may even feel like he/she has “the flu — feverish, with chills, nausea, headache, and weakness.” Finally, “a few days later,” the skins begins to peel an s itch as the “body tries to rid itself of sun-damaged cells.”

why do we get sun burnt

Why do we get sun burnt?/Image: FitnessAndSkinCare

Why do we get sun burnt? We are warned about what damage the sun can do to our skin. Yet even in an era where we spend money on helmet laws, special programs on bullying and a bunch of other things that we once dealt with within the given system or through the use of common sense we still ignore warnings about the sun and our very skin. According to the CDC over “one-third of adults and” almost “70 percent of children admit they’ve gotten sunburned within the past year.”

Why do we get sun burnt? One reason is because you don’t have to feel hot to be getting sun burnt. That’s because sunburns are caused by the sun’s UV rays. UV rays do not feel warm which is why it is totally possible to get sunburn even on a cool, cloudy day.

Why do we get sun burnt? We get sun burnt because we don’t know enough about our own bodies. We don’t know enough about our individual skin types, the sun’s intensity and sometimes we do not even know exactly how long we’ve been exposed to the sun. This lack of information results in our taking on too much sun at once which overwhelms the body’s natural defense mechanism—the tanning process—a toxic reaction occurs which results in sunburn.

Why do we get sun burnt? We get sun burnt because we either do not use sunscreen properly or rely solely and too heavily upon it. Gary Chuang, an assistant professor of dermatology at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts, warns: “It doesn’t matter how much sunscreen you have on — if you are lying there forever and ever, some of the radiation will definitely penetrate through. Even if you have a tan you can get a sunburn, and people with dark skin types can get a sunburn if out long enough.”

Why do we get sun burnt? Now you know.

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About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.