With beach season in full swing, the reminders to wear your sunscreen when you head outside are ever-constant.
This is for a good reason. Sunscreen reduces the likelihood of developing skin cancer. It offers a degree of protection against the UV radiation pumped out by the sun. It even prevents us from getting a nasty sunburn.
We’re often told about the benefits of sunscreen, Which are true. They don’t tell us why our skin reacts the way it does in the presence of sunshine.
This Youtube segment by the popular SciShow, explains it to us in a little more detail.
As it turns out, it’s all about self-sacrifice. Because UV radiation can trigger our cells’ DNA to mutate, possibly out of control. As with cancer, the body has developed a series of preemptive defense mechanisms to protect itself.
It’s these defensive maneuvers that are really causing our skin to tan or burn, not the sun or UV radiation itself. Much like how a fever is our body’s attempt to drive away foreign invaders. Instead of being directly caused by the latest common cold virus.
So put on the sunscreen, watch the video, and learn some more interesting factoids about sunburned skin.