Overexposure to the sun causes sunburn. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can produce a painful burn that can be as severe as first or second degree. Reflection of water, sand or snow can also intensify the sun's burning rays. The best protection against sunburn is prevention. Avoid sun exposure during the peak hours of the sun's rays and apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Protect the eyes with sunglasses that have UV protection and use a lip balm with sunscreen. Years of unprotected sun exposure can cause premature aging and cancer of the skin.
Review Date 6/19/2021
Updated by: Ramin Fathi, MD, FAAD, Director, Phoenix Surgical Dermatology Group, Phoenix, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.