Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are there any short-term risks of being in the sun too much?"
I love laying out and getting a sun tan in the summer. I'm 19 years old, female and never get sunburns. sometimes I'm out in the sun for hours. I know I could get skin cancer down the line, but are there any short term problems from the sun?
The short term risks of laying out in the sun is the risk of getting burned. If you are the type of person that rarely or never burns, then this should is not as much of a problem. Almost all of the risks associated with too much sun exposure are long term. The more exposure you have to the sun's UV rays, the more likely you are to develop skin cancer. In addition, you are likely to get skin cancer at a younger age if you have increased sun exposure. Thus, long term may not be as long away as you think. There are many different types of skin cancer that you are at increased risk for with high levels of sun exposure. The most common two types are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, both of which are likely to appear on the face or neck (where the most sun exposure occurs. The most worrisome type of cancer is melanoma which is often deadly if you get it. A moderate amount of sun exposure is healthy because UV exposure is how you get some of your vitamin D. Thus, you should talk to your doctor about how much sun is health, and what type of sunscreen you should be using. You can start by scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss this issue. Good luck.
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