Link #11: Sunburn Damages Your Blood Vessels

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Link #11: Sunburn Damages Your Blood Vessels

In the last post, we talked about the extreme things people can do to themselves. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that Dr. David Pritchard chose to put 50 hookworms in his skin! After all, many of us have ended up damaging our own skin, just because we didn’t realize what we were doing. Every time you get a sunburn, you damage the blood vessels in your skin. How does this happen? Read on.

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What Is Sunburn, Really?

Sunburnt back
Sunburnt back by Pavel Ševela ccc3.0

Most people have suffered a sunburn at some point in their lives. It’s a common enough ailment that can happen to anyone who likes to spend time outdoors under the sun. Sunburn, for most individuals, is nothing but the discoloration of the skin, accompanied by itchiness and sometimes blisters.

However, there’s a lot going on in your skin when you’re suffering from sunburn. It isn’t just simple skin damage from being under the sun. Every time you get a sunburn, you end up damaging the blood vessels in your skin. In fact, the damage to your blood vessels is exactly why your skin looks the way it does when sunburned.


Looking at Sunburn Damage Under the Microscope

If you look at sunburned skin under a microscope, you’ll see damaged skin cells and blood vessels. So, how does this occur? When the ultraviolet rays in sunlight start destroying the outer skin cells, the blood vessels get exposed and start expanding. The process is known as dilation of blood vessels.

The reason why your blood vessels do this is that they’re trying to speed up the process of healing your damaged skin cells. As blood vessels expand, more blood reaches the damaged tissue. More blood means that the healing will be quickened by a complex process of clotting.


Prolonged Sun Exposure Causes Bursting of Blood Vessels

Sun tanning
Sun tanning by tuxiduxi cc2.0

Your skin cells get damaged by the sun, and your blood vessels dilate to repair that damage. However, as the outer layer of the skin is broken, the blood vessels in your skin are no longer protected by it. When blood vessels are exposed to the sun directly, they start bursting too. You should know, however, that this only happens with extremely prolonged exposure to the sun, like when you’ve been in the sun even after you’ve gotten sunburned.

If you expose yourself to the sun too much, then you run the risk of having long-term and lasting damage to your skin. A typical result of this is that your skin will permanently become leathery and dry. Unhealthy skin will then be prone to premature aging. This means that you’ll start looking older than you actually are, and wrinkles will start showing up very early in your life.

This kind of damage is particularly likely among young people who spend too much time in the sun without proper protection. For instance, people below the age of twenty-one are especially susceptible to long-term skin damage. The best way to avoid this fate is for you to use sunscreen every time you go out to play.


How to Avoid a Sunburn | Skin Care Guide




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Sources:

http://www.faqs.org/health/topics/46/Sunburn.html
http://www.alwaysnewyou.com/skin_care_you/sunburn/sunburn-and-broken-blood-vessels.html
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/skin_care/hic_protecting_yourself_from_sun_damage.aspx

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