April 14, 2016

Is the Sun Bad for You?

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

As the calendar appears to be heading towards summer (yet it’s snowing as I write) the loud voices screaming for you to stay out of the sun will soon be heard. Every time you read about summer fun and outdoor activities, the professional criers warn you about the disastrous effects of sun exposure. Most people, when asked, will say the sun is bad for you, it causes skin cancer, sunburns and gives you leather looking skin. Should you avoid the sun? Does it really cause cancer? What are the risks and benefits of sun exposure?

For the past half century, dermatologists have promoted the idea that you should never expose your skin to direct sunlight because it damages your skin and causes cancer. Does it really? Actually the answer is yes…BUT. The skin cancer melanoma is what they are talking about. Over the top sun exposure does damage skin and increases the risk of melanoma, but that does not mean avoiding as much sun as possible is good for you.