BSIP, LAURENT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, LAURENT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sunburn. Severe sunburn and peeling skin on the shoulder of a male patient. Sunburn is caused by over-exposure to sunlight. The ultraviolet rays in sunlight destroys cells in the outer layer of the skin and damages tiny blood vessels beneath. Affected skin becomes inflamed and may blister, and several days later the dead cells are shed in this peeling process. Sunburn is most common in fair-skinned people, whose skin lacks the pigment melanin that can reduce these effects. Repeated exposure can age skin prematurely and increases the risk of skin cancer. Calamine lotion and drugs can help with the pain, but severe cases require medical attention and corticosteroid drugs.
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