Sunrays Makes Skin Problems – I remember back when I was a little. My skin is so soft, no worries with sunburn, acnes problem, dry skin etc. But later on, I knew that I must be more concerned about how sunrays makes skin problems with my skin. When everyone wanted to get tanned, another wanted to get much brighter. Truly I tell you, all those things maybe can impact our skin condition and can cause many problems later.

This time, I want to share with you about how sun rays can effectively cause skin damage in short or long period of time. Sunrays makes skin problems that can cause sunburn, also aging! Ladies, ageing makes us more worries than before. Skin ageing and dehydration causes by several things. The environment, the UV light, from the medication that you take, any medical conditions (ex: cancer, hypothyroidism ).


Figure 1. Skin Anatomy (source: WebMd © 2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. )

Skin represents our barrier against the environment and it consists in 3 layers: Hypodermis (deepest layer) which consisted by adipose tissue, vessels, and nerves. Dermis (middle layer) consisted by connective tissue, there are collagen and elastin fibers, blood vessels, oil glands, hair follicles, sweat glands. The third is Epidermis (the outer layer) consisted by keratinocytes. Keratinocytes are the primary type of cell in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. IN humans, they constitute 90% of epidermal skin cells.1 Keratinocytes, localized in the stratum corneum (stratum corneum is the outermost layer of keratinocytes which continuously shed and replaced). Stratum corneum provides skin hydration and in particular, lipids play a significant role against evaporation holding water. Sweat and oil glands products, skin natural moisturizing factors, participate to moisture content maintenance, acting as endogenous humectants.2


Our skin normally get exposed to the sun exclusively to wavelengths <294 nm, while solar ultraviolet radiation, which contains both UVA (320-499 nm) and UVB (290-320 nm), might cause injuries to the skin. UVA penetrates deeper than UVB into the skin layer and mediates damage to both the epidermis and dermis.3 Numerous reports have shown that UV radiation, including UVA and UVB, significantly disturbs the human skin cells production which skin will overproduction of reactive oxygen species/ROS (are free radicals, type of unstable molecule that contains oxygen and that easily reacts with other molecules in a cell. A build up of a reaction oxygen species in cells may cause damage to DNA, RNA, and proteins and may cause cell death), which impair antioxidant system such as thioredoxin and glutathione-glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase is an intracellular antioxidant enzyme to protect skin from harmful effects of the external exposure. Thioredoxins are proteins in human body that act as antioxidants by facilitating the reduction of other proteins by biosynthesia in cell and help to controls expression of numerous inflammatory genes. In addition, thioredoxin has general intracellular antioxidant activity and when upregulated or overexpressed, protects against oxidative stress4 (is a phenomenon caused by an imbalance between production and accumulation of oxygen reactive species (ROS) in cells and tissues and the ability of a biological system to detoxify these reactive products).

Even sunrays makes skin problems, but human still needs the benefit of the sun rays, we still need to know which time is best sun light to our health. Because some studies says that suns’s rays may shrink fat cells below our skin, so it’s very important to know which the perfect time. Morning light estimated at 8 am and noon above 4pm it’s the safest time, which the ultraviolet concentration wasn’t high as 10 am to 4 pm. Vitamin D can actively be produced by the time we exposed to sunlight, sun exposure is by far the best way to boost our vitamin D levels.

But, what happen if we get overexposure from sunlight? What skin problem that we get?

Sun exposure can cause skin aging, and right sun’s ultraviolet light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching5. UV also causes the immunologically important epidermal Langerhan’s cells(cells location at the skin barrier and role as immune sentinels) to be inactivated and lost. Further effects of UV exposure include thickening of the epidermis and an increased production of melanin, a pigment produced by melanocytes that is responsible for tanning of the skin and some natural protection against future exposure. Environmental damage to the skin is associated with several neoplastic conditions commonly seen in the elderly, including actinic keratosis , Bowen’s disease , squamous cell carcinoma , and basal cell carcinoma.6 Risk of skin cancer is heavily influenced by UV exposure and by skin pigmentation.

Figure 2. Influence of pigmentation on skin cancer risk. Fair-skinned individuals with low levels of melanin(skin pigment) in the epidermis display a UV sensitive phenotype, tending to burn rather than tan, after UV exposure. Recent data suggest that mutations that contribute to fair complexion and tanning impairment, specifically signaling defects in the melanocortin 1 receptor/MC1R (is a protein that works like receptor in our skin, that regulates skin pigmentation, UV responses, and melanoma risk) may also be associated with less efficient DNA repair in melanocytes(cells that produces melanin/pigment). MC1R-defective individuals not only suffer higher realized doses of UV radiation because their skin is less able to block UV photons, but they may also accumulate more mutations from UV exposure because of defective DNA repair.

One of the most obvious acute effects of UV include erythema (sunburn), pigmentation (tanning), suppression of acquired immunity, and enhancement of innate immunity, all mostly caused by UVB.8 UVB induces a cascade of cytokines, vasoactive and neuroactive mediators in the skin that together result in an inflammatory response and causes “sunburn”.7


We are all familiar with sunscreen, right? So, its not just myth that our skin really needed protection to get blocked ultra violet from sun rays that can harmful to our skin and causes skin problems. Sunscreens were originally developed to minimize sunburn, but the action spectrum which shows more effective in UVB then UVA. Sun protection factor as we know as SPF mainly specific to protect against the UVB. And all we think that the higher SPF is, the higher protection we got from against UVA and UV, but that’s not true. SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays.9

Since SPF only applies to UVB rays, it’s imperative to choose a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” on the label, as this indicates the product helps protect the skin from UVA rays as well.9 The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, then reapplying every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating. No sunscreen is waterproof, only water-resistant.9 We must also have to considered about the skin cancer, because sunscreen alone is not enough. We still have to do extra protection such as shade and covering our skin with cloth, wide-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses.


  1. Wikipedia. Keratinocytes. Access 2 March 2021
  2. American Skin Association. Dry Skin. , Access 2 March 2021
  3. Pei-Wen Wang, Yu-Chiang Hung, Tung-Yi Lin, Jia-You Fang, Pei-Ming Yang, Mu-Hong Chen, Tai-Long Pan. Comparison of the Biological Impact of UVA and UVB upon the Skin with Functional Proteomics and Immunohistochemistry. MDPI. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Dec; 8(12): 569. Published online 2019 Nov 20. doi: 10.3390/antiox8120569.
  4. Elias S. J. Arner, Arne Holmgren. Physiological Functions of Thioredoxin and Thioredoxin Reductase. European Journal of Biochemistry. First published: 25 December 2001. . Access: March 3 2021.
  5. Cosmetic Procedure: Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer. .Access: March 4 2021
  6. Chronic and Acute Effects of Sun Exposure on the Skin. Mary Ann E. Zagaria, PharmD, MS, CGP
    Senior Care Consultant Pharmacist and
    President of MZ Associates, Inc., Staten Island, New York. US Pharm. 2007;32(4):20-26.)
  7. John D’Orazio, Stuart Jarret, Alexandra Amaro-Ortiz, Timothy Scott. UV Radiation and the Skin. International Journal of Molecular Science. Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Jun; 14(6): 12222–12248. Published online 2013 Jun 7. doi: 10.3390/ijms140612222
  8. Antony R. Young. Acute effects of UVR on Human Eyes and Skin. Prog Biophys Mol Biol 2006 Sep;92(1):80-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2006.02.005. Epub 2006 Feb 28
  9. Sunscreen 101: How to Get the Most out of Your Sun Protection Products. access: March 5 2021

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