The government has a stern warning for those who like to be under the sun: Put on your sunscreen or suffer the consequences. Skin cancer is the third leading cancer type in Australia. Moreover, two in every three people will develop the condition by the time they reach 70. Skin and UV rays have a complex relationship, and applying sunscreen may not be the only thing you need to do for protection.
Skin's Circadian Rhythm
The body has its own internal clock, and it determines cellular function. This clock depends on the amount of light the body perceives. For example, during nighttime, the body releases melatonin to help you relax for sleep.
A study published in Cell Stem Cell revealed that even skin cells have internal clocks, which regulate the many cellular functions. These include protection against effects of sun's radiation on the cells. The research suggested the cells activate genes that promote UV protection. These genes peak during the daytime. The findings imply a disruption of the skin cells' internal clocks can lead to premature ageing. It may also increase the risk of skin cancer.
Melanin is the reason for the skin's pigmentation. It explains why some people are black, brown, and white. It also protects the skin against UV radiation. Thus, light-skinned people like Australians are more prone to skin cancer.
A Yale University research added more dimension to the cancer-melanin relationship. It turns out the source of the melanin can determine your vulnerability to UV damage. People with light hair can worsen the effects of sun's rays and kill cells found in the follicles. In other words, even if two people are light skinned, one can still be more at risk because of their hair colour.
Using sunscreen is necessary, especially if you’re light skinned, but so is giving your body shade at all times. Incorporating fabric structures, as DomeShelter Australia and other experts suggest, can provide added protection from the hair to the feet.
No matter how much you love the sun, you have to protect yourself from its harmful UV rays. Apart from applying sunscreen, make sure that the place you're going (for instance) has some sort of shade.