Sun tanning is quite common phenomena in the western region of the world. Sun tanning is the simple process of basking in the direct sunlight and having total exposure to its radiation without any layer of clothing to cover some of the threats up.
Skin cancer occurs if the epidermal cells of skin are exposed to radiations either X-rays, gamma rays, or UV rays. Skin cancer is the mutation of epithelial cells as your DNA is damaged by the effect of radiation causing the breakdown of the genetic sequence and the addition of a new sequence that is not complimentary to the other nucleotide. Mutation of three different types occurs in skin cancer showing abnormal skin characteristics and abnormal proliferation of spots, moles, or tumors. This can hamper the activity of skin sensor cells and make that specific small piece of epithelial tissue completely useless and irreplaceable by mitotic division of basal layer of epidermal cells which renews the epithelium layer after a week or so.
It is observed in western coastal nations that the majority of people head to beaches and expose themselves to direct UV radiation of the sun in the summer season when the radiation is at its peak. UVA and UVB radiations are the main factors causing skin cancer. Once you directly expose yourself to deadly radiations, your skin provides resistance against radiation to your body but a longer duration of exposure results in secretion of melanin from melanocytes of your skin to barrier the harmful radiations but further exposure causes the continuous release of melanin and increased risk of skin cancer as melanin itself to have a limit and cannot resist skin cell damage. If you are lucky enough then you can still suffer the erythema (sunburn), here your upper layer of cells will take the most amount of damage and will be removed from the surface but some radiations still enter the skin and negatively affect the skin tone and make your body age faster, sunburn won’t protect from skin cancer but shows that you are at the risk of getting affected. Skin cancer can occur to both white and black-skinned individuals but white-skinned individuals are more at risk as compared to black-skinned as those have higher immunity due to already higher amounts of melanin but that doesn’t account for complete resistance. Although the skin cancer is not that common due to present adapted habits of staying indoors, the other healthy outdoor activities are also ignored and not enough exposure to required UV radiations weakens our Langerhans dendritic cells of skin which are also responsible of detecting and killing cancerous/tumorous cells in the epithelium of the skin.
Symptoms of skin cancer are abnormal changes in shape, color, or enlargement which don’t seem to look like inflammation but rather like a tumor, sudden change in skin tone, itchiness, and painful and rashy skin. If any of these symptoms appear, the individual should go to check the doctor instead of ignoring the problem. It is better to diagnose at an early stage as it is easily curable but any further wait can have a bad or even worse result and is hard to treat. Sunburn itself is a symptom of possible skin cancer and damage to skin cells.
One should avoid tanning completely as it is one of the unhealthiest practices in existence. Sun tanning doesn’t provide any benefit to the human body. Usage of SPF-30 instead of SPF-15 due to better efficiency and it should be used in a proper way i.e. cover the exposed body parts completely to prevent radiation damage to your epithelium. Prevent exposure to sunlight specifically during afternoon as it is observed to be a time of the more risky/dangerous kind of radiation.
Author of the article: Muhammad Shaheryaar Ali
Under supervision of: Dr Mohammad Noman Khan
Research/education Institute: University of Karachi, Pakistan
Department of institute: Department of physiology