4 Serious Dangers Of Sunburn That Will Convince You To Get Your Sun Protection Ready For Summer

Remember to wear your sunscreen. This summer's going to be a doozy.

Dangers of sunburn skin cancer melanoma sunscreen summer beach days Pexels

Am I the only one who didn’t know “National Sun Screen Day” was a thing? It’s May 27th this year (you’re welcome), and even if we're a little late for “don’t fry day” it's still more important than ever to understand the serious dangers of sunburns. So get your sunscreen on! Like, seriously — just wear it.

With all of the positive things associated with the sun (a “healthy” glow, more energy, warmth, happiness, flowers, fun times, etc.); it can feel like the sun wouldn’t possibly hurt us — let alone be life threatening.


But, just like all good things in life, too much of something — even the sun — is absolutely a bad thing.

Somewhere in our subconscious we all know that the sun can be detrimental, but nobody wants to think too much about it. I mean, admitting that the very environment we live in is dangerous is a fact that is sometimes too terrifying to face; but the reality is that the sun can pose a HUGE danger to our health, especially during this time of year, when we spend so much time in it.


We all need to be aware of the dangers of the sun so that we can be taking steps in order to avoid these risks, like limiting exposure, wearing sunblock and sunscreen (there's a right and wrong way to do this), wearing sunglasses and large-billed sun hats, and making sure to stay hydrated (with lots of water, not sugary drinks or anything with lime juice).

Sunburns are one of those scary dangers that can kind of creep up on you and, in some cases, literally kill you.


Although it’s easy to brush off the warnings about sun exposure, we need to make an effort now to protect ourselves before it’s too late.

RELATED: The 4 Types Of Sunscreens You MUST Use (Unless You Want Skin Cancer)

In the heat, it can be hard to want to do anything that delays getting out into the cool water and enjoying the good times with friends and family. But these simple steps truly can be life saving (and beauty saving – check out danger #3!).

With the first day of summer finally here, check out the top 4 reasons why you need to wear your sunscreen and protect yourself from the sun this summer.

1. There's a very real risk of skin cancer.

Probably the most serious long-term danger of sun exposure and sunburns is the increased potential for developing skin cancer. According to lovetoknow.com, “A person who has had five or more sunburns in his or her life has doubled the risk for melanoma”, which is the type of skin cancer that causes the most deaths, with over 2,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the U.S..


I don’t know about you, but hearing this makes me want to make an appointment with a dermatologist... like yesterday.

Plus, cumulative sun exposure is linked to other forms of skin cancer as well. In fact, the sun is so damaging to our skin that even just a simple tan can be detrimental to our risk for developing skin cancer. According to The American Skin Association, “there is no such thing as a healthy tan” because “tanned skin will forever contain cells whose genetic structures have been permanently damaged by the sun.” And this damage always puts you at a higher risk for developing skin cancer.

Homebodies rejoice! Staying in this summer could save your life. I’m mostly kidding of course. As a homebody myself I adore any excuse to stay in, but it’s still important to get out and enjoy the fun activities of summer — just be cautious.

RELATED: Study Finds This Very Common Morning Drink Linked To Skin Cancer


2. Sun exposure and sunburns cause premature aging.

If skin cancer doesn’t scare you enough (frankly, I’m already sold); let vanity be your motivation for avoiding the dangers of the sun this summer. According to Dr. Leffell from lovetoknow.com, he warns that sunburns can (and often do) result in premature aging of the skin. This is because the UVA waves from the sun can “destroy collagen and elastin tissue, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.”

Bonus: this damage cannot be reversed, sorry.

According to the Mayo Clinic, premature aging from sun damage can result in such things as:

  • Uneven Pigmentation
  • Age spots
  • Deep wrinkles and sagging of the skin
  • Melasma (brown darkening of the facial skin)

RELATED: Why Some People Age Faster Than Others, According To Science


3. Sunburns can happen in your eyes, too (and cause serious damage).

We all know about the damaging affects the sun can have on our skin, but did you know you can actually damage your eyes, even if you're not looking directly into the sun?

While less common than sunburns, you can actually get a sunburn on your eyeballs. Yep. Plus, you can get skin cancer in the sensitive skin that surrounds your eyes (most likely due to the fact that we tend to avoid the eye area when applying sun screen because it — ironically — burns when it gets in the eye).

According to the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, sun exposure can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration (the leading cause of vision loss) and sunburns on the whites of your eye.

You can also get a corneal flash burn, says emedicinehealth.com. Basically, it's a sunburn on the surface of the eye from too much sun exposure or from the reflection of the sun off the water and the sand. Luckily, the cornea generally repairs itself, however, if your eyeball sunburn gets bad enough, infection can occur — so it’s important to see a doctor for a follow up if you have any of the symptoms after sun exposure.


The easiest way to prevent sun damage to your eyes is to wear sunglasses with doctor recommended UV protection and to wear a sun hat. And, obviously, don't look directly at the sun.

RELATED: 19 Books That Should Be On Every Woman's Summer Reading List

4. Sunburns can exacerbate any pre-existing skin conditions you already have.

Where are my fellow eczema sufferers at? Did you know sun exposure can exacerbate our eczema or other skin conditions? Yeah, me neither. Makes sense though. I always seem to get red splotchy hands and upper arms during the summer months (darn you, eczema and sun!)


According to lovetoknow.com, sunburns can exasperate skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.

So slap on your sunscreen, buy an umbrella and sunglasses — or maybe just stick to the A/C and chill out inside so you can avoid some of the many dangers of sunburn.

RELATED: The 5-Letter Cheat Sheet That Will Save You From Skin Cancer

Nicole Bradley-Bernard is a writer who needs coffee more than she needs anyone’s approval. She enjoys putting bright colors in her curly brown hair, spending time outside on cool days and being with her partner in life, Eric, who she considers a continuing source of inspiration.