Causes of sunburn

Synonyms in a broader sense

medical dermatitis solaris, UV erythema, see also: skin cancer


Frequent sunbathing causes sunburn and skin cancer

Sunburn is a first degree burn caused by UV radiation, mainly UV-B radiation with a wavelength of 280-320 nm (Nanometer). UVB rays have a shorter wavelength than UVA rays, so they are more energetic and cause more damage. Modern solariums therefore do without UVB rays, but even pure UVA radiation can cause genetic damage and ultimately skin cancer if the intensity is sufficient.

Medically, burns caused by UV radiation are divided into three grades, depending on their severity, mostly it is a 1st degree burn. The focus here is on redness and swelling as well as pain. With a second degree sunburn, blisters already form in the top one Skin layer (epidermis). At a combustion III. The degree of UV radiation causes severe damage to the skin, which is peeled off and only heals with scarring. This strongest sunburn causes a lot of pain and has to be treated in the hospital.

If UV rays penetrate the skin, they cause a change there (Denaturation) the skin's own proteins (Proteins). This change has the effect that the proteins can no longer perform their function, the skin is damaged. The damage causes the production of certain messenger substances, so-called Cytokinescausing local ignition. This leads to increased blood flow in the damaged area, while at the same time the blood vessels become more permeable for fluid and immune cells. The increased flow of fluid into the damaged cells causes the skin to swell and the increased blood flow leads to local reddening.

Since not all damage to the proteins can be repaired, this becomes noticeable with continuous or repeated strong UV radiation and the sunburn caused by premature skin aging. Above all, UVA rays that penetrate deeper into the skin cause this damage to the connective and supporting tissue. The skin's own support proteins, too Collagens are damaged in their structure, the skin becomes less elastic, sagging and wrinkles early.

But not only the skin's own proteins are damaged, but also the genetic material of the affected cells DNS (D.esoxyribonukleinsacid). UVB rays in particular lead to strand breaks in the DNA, which can only be repaired with difficulty and often incorrectly. With repeated damage to the DNA, the behavior of the cell can change, it can grow in an uncontrolled manner and divide and thus become one Cancer cell become.

The lens of the eye reacts most sensitively to UV rays, and it is also the least capable of repairing damage. The consequence of this is lens opacity, the so-called Cataractsthat was left untreated for Blindness of the affected Eye leads.