It won't be long before the sun makes itself extremely visible, but don't get too eager with sunbathing just yet. According to a new study, you can still suffer from sun damage even during dark.
Many people believe that sun damage caused by harmful UV rays happens when there's daylight. Come night time, because of the amount of UV that slips through the earth, it won't pose a very serious health threat anymore.
But in a new study conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University School of Medicine led by Douglas Brash, the effects can go on for many hours, even after sundown. Interestingly, what leads to the damage is the very same thing that's meant to protect your body from UV rays.
When a person is exposed to UV light especially for extended periods through tanning under the heat of the sun or beds, the DNA of the melanocytes undergo damage. These are skin cells that are responsible for producing melanin, which then gives your skin the dark pigmentation. When the DNA and therefore the cells are damaged, the person becomes at risk of skin cancer.
While the melanin does have the capability to protect the skin from UV damage, it is also reactive, in which case the effect becomes harmful to the body.
Based on the experiments they conducted with lab mice, the UV light is able to prolong its effects to the DNA for many hours through a process known as chemiexcitation, which activates a particular enzyme. This enzyme also leads to skin damage during daytime.
On the other hand, the scientists in New Zealand believe that the study should not be ignored. Skin cancer is currently the most common cancer in the country. However, they want to warn people that this study warrants a follow-up.
In the meantime, the researchers of the study think that it may be necessary to produce screen creams that can be applied at night.