How does your body naturally protect itself from a sunburn?



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    UV rays cause the skin to produce Melanin, a brown pigment, which acts as the body’s natural sunscreen. In addition, gradual exposure to sunlight produces a thickening of the outer skin. These both exist to defend the skin from harmful radiation.

    Skin peeling after a sunburn is another way the body protects itself. If a cell has a small amount of damage to its DNA, the damage will be repaired and continue to function normally. However, if the damage is excessive, the cell(s) will die because of an internal mechanism that won’t allow the cell to survive with such a mutation. It is the death of these gene-damaged cells that causes the skin to peel after a sunburn. 

    According to a study by Laurie Owen-Schwab, a protein named Fas is the key to this cell elimination process.

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