Scientists figure out why sun overexposure makes our skin sore (a sunburn!)

A group of scientists have figured out (at least in part) why overexposure to UV light makes our skin get sore, red and swollen.

It goes like this:

  • You sit out in the sun too long. (As if you haven’t been told.)
  • Inside your skin cells, that little RNA molecule is damaged by UV-B — and its shape gets altered.
  • Damaged skin cells release altered pieces of RNA.
  • The altered RNA can bind to a receptor in undamaged skin cells and immune cells called peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
  • These cells, as a result, start pumping out chemicals called cytokines that induce inflammation.
  • Redness and swelling follow.

That’s not the end of it, though. Even though there’s a short term ramp-up in immune activity during sunburn, later on the immune system is suppressed for a period of time.

 

Learn more: L.A. Times - Ow, sunburn: Scientists figure out what’s going on in our skin

 

(jalalspages)

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