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Is getting sunburned occasionally dangerous?

Many people think it's OK to get sunburned once in a while, but studies show that occasional exposures to intense ultraviolet (UV) rays, such as when you are at an increased altitude, are more closely linked to the development of melanoma than shorter everyday exposures to sunlight. Even if the total amount of UV exposure is the same, the weekend sunbather will have a greater risk of developing melanoma. A recent systematic review of case-control studies confirmed that intermittent sun exposure and sunburn at all ages were associated with an increased risk of melanoma. It also showed, however, that people exposed to sun through their work were at a reduced risk. With consistent protected exposure, the skin not only produces melanin, but its outer layers also thicken, limiting damage from further UV exposure. Such adaptive responses provide people greater protection against cancer, but not against wrinkles.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.