Everyone’s skin and eyes can be affected by the sun and other forms of UV rays. People with light skin are much more likely to have sun damage, but darker-skinned people also can be affected.

The skin tans when it absorbs UV radiation. The tan is caused by an increase in the activity and number of melanocytes, the cells that make the pigment melanin. Melanin helps to block damaging UV rays up to a point, which is why people with naturally darker skin are less likely to get sunburned, while people with lighter skin are more likely to burn. Sunburns are thought to increase your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. But UV exposure can raise skin-cancer risk even without causing sunburn.

You need to be especially careful in the sun if you have had skin cancer before; have a family history of skin cancer, especially melanoma; have lots of moles, irregular moles or large moles; or have freckles, fair skin, blue or green eyes, and red, blond or light brown hair. Having your skin checked yearly by a dermatologist is important for early detection of skin cancer.

— Source: American Cancer Society


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