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Sunburn on ice

Heymatt:

Does the temperature have any bearing on how much sunburn/sun damage a person receives? If I'm outside on a sunny, cloudless 60 degree day, won't I get as much of a tan as I would on a sunny, cloudless 85 degree day?

-- Gettin' Baked, University City

We took the elves down to the beach and made half of them sit on a giant block of ice. Grandma gathered up all the extension cords, and we plugged in a bunch of big old fans. We got their little teeth chattering like the bad valves in Pa Alice's car. We left 'em there for two, three hours. Meanwhile, the second group of elves lounged around on towels and made rude noises at chicks. When we gathered everybody up and got back home, we had an elf lineup and asked Ma Alice to pick out the cold experimental elves from the rude control group, and she was stumped. Both groups were equally fried. Temperature itself has nothing to do with sunburn. You can be freezing your butt off and still get a sunburn, of course.

A "burn" from the sun is actually a chemical reaction to skin-cell damage caused by the dreaded UV radiation, not the heat of the sun. Various enzymes and proteins respond to the damaged area by enlarging small blood vessels and marshalling inflammatory cells, causing redness, swelling, and pain. Do enough damage to your skin cells and they'll die and peel off. Damage the DNA from repeated overexposure to UV, and you end up with brown skin patches, wrinkles, and maybe cancer. And you definitely can do this while sitting on a giant block of ice with all of Grandma Alice's fans blowing on you.

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Heymatt:

Does the temperature have any bearing on how much sunburn/sun damage a person receives? If I'm outside on a sunny, cloudless 60 degree day, won't I get as much of a tan as I would on a sunny, cloudless 85 degree day?

-- Gettin' Baked, University City

We took the elves down to the beach and made half of them sit on a giant block of ice. Grandma gathered up all the extension cords, and we plugged in a bunch of big old fans. We got their little teeth chattering like the bad valves in Pa Alice's car. We left 'em there for two, three hours. Meanwhile, the second group of elves lounged around on towels and made rude noises at chicks. When we gathered everybody up and got back home, we had an elf lineup and asked Ma Alice to pick out the cold experimental elves from the rude control group, and she was stumped. Both groups were equally fried. Temperature itself has nothing to do with sunburn. You can be freezing your butt off and still get a sunburn, of course.

A "burn" from the sun is actually a chemical reaction to skin-cell damage caused by the dreaded UV radiation, not the heat of the sun. Various enzymes and proteins respond to the damaged area by enlarging small blood vessels and marshalling inflammatory cells, causing redness, swelling, and pain. Do enough damage to your skin cells and they'll die and peel off. Damage the DNA from repeated overexposure to UV, and you end up with brown skin patches, wrinkles, and maybe cancer. And you definitely can do this while sitting on a giant block of ice with all of Grandma Alice's fans blowing on you.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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