Spring has arrived, and many people take every opportunity to expose themselves to the sun thinking that the spring sun is not as harmful to the skin as the summer sun. True or false? Professor Antonio Costanzo, head of the Dermatology Operating Unit of Humanitas and lecturer at Humanitas University, responds.
“False. Not only is the spring sun not harmless, it can also be more harmful than the summer sun, since UV rays reach their maximum intensity in May and June, not only in August, as one would have thought – explains the expert. In addition, our skin is not ready for immediate prolonged exposure to sunlight in spring. This is because the cells that produce melanin, the substance that defends us from UV rays, and to which we owe our tan, are less stimulated during the winter and take some time to reactivate their functions. This explains, for example, why even at our latitudes we can very easily get burnt in the first spring sun. Moreover, in addition to unprotected sun exposure in spring, it also happens that the skin becomes red due to the action of too much sun and releases special proteins called alarm proteins. These proteins would seem to play a decisive role in the development of melanoma, a serious skin cancer that can manifest itself, in the initial stages, as a small neuron. If melanoma is present, in fact, exposure to the sun stimulates the tumor cells to release alarm proteins that activate a protumor inflammation favoring the migration of tumor cells in other areas of the body where, by reproducing, they could give rise to metastases. Since there are no sun creams that can defend us from this phenomenon, it is always good to pay attention when exposing ourselves to the sun, both in spring and summer, but also in winter, in the mountains. So when the good weather arrives, it’s best to slightly slow down the enthusiasm and proceed with gradual exposures, always protected with special creams and lotions, enjoying the sun and good weather, but using the right precautions, including a hat and light dresses that cover the skin of the body.