The Sunburn Story: What Really Happens When You Sunburn

Posted by JaVae Anderson

The Sunburn Story
What Really Happens When You Sunburn

Ocean Rescue Spa Products
Signature Series – Thought Leadership by the Experts

Dr. Ansul Noor
MD/MBBS, DDSc (Dermatology, UK), MSc (Dermatological Sciences, UK), Anti-Aging (Paris)

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Your first sunburn whether you had it in your childhood, or your teens or adulthood will mean your first skin cell DNA mutation and the formation of a sunburn cell. The first sunburn episode will fire up a complex chain of events that will result in controlled cell death or a mass suicide of your skin cells.

Why are they dying off like this?

Sunburn cells are simply dead keratinocytes where the DNA is beyond repair. This is in fact a protective mechanism whereby they give up their life to save you from getting skin cancer. If skin cells with damaged DNA are allowed to live, they will eventually transform into precancerous and cancerous cells. So, sunburn cells are the true martyrs of your skin.

The sunburn response is both inflammatory and immune mediated in nature. Redness is seen about 4 hours following a sunburn. This peaks at about 8-24 hours and often even lasts for up to 3 days. The skin is painful to the touch, red and swollen, in severe cases there is blistering and can actually result in second degree burns.

If one sunburn episode can cause cell death, how about over a lifetime? Cumulative exposure means that sunburn cells won’t be able to keep up with the rate & frequency of sun exposure. Soon deeper cells will become involved and as UVR damage progresses so will the risk of cell mutations and cancer.

Remember the more the UVR exposure the higher the risk for developing skin cancer. It’s directly proportional. Soon, other chronic signs of photodamage set in and the process of extrinsic aging will begin.

How can you self-assess and find out if you are more to skin cancer? If you always burn and never tan or if you burn easily and sometimes tan you have Type 1-2 Skin and hence have a 70% more chance of developing skin cancer than those with skin types 3-6 which are darker skin tones.

Remember, the MOST important skincare product in your vanity cabinet is your SUNSCREEN.

If you are looking for a great mineral-based sunscreen that melts into your skin, is clean, safe, effective and suitable for all ages and skin types, why not try the Ultra-Light SPF 30 Moisturizer. The Ultra-Light SPF 30 Moisturizer serves multiple functions, it deeply moisturizes your skin, reduces inflammation, calms red skin and most importantly offers broad spectrum protection as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Please remember, prevention of sunburns is the ONLY cure for a sunburn.

Stay Safe Everyone!

Dr.Ansul Noor Khan
Instagram: @cuticonscious
(Dermatology Advisor for Ocean Rescue Spa Products)

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About Dr. Noor

Dr. Ansul Noor has always believed in public health education and the age-old philosophy that ’prevention is better than the cure. These beliefs have left an acute mark upon her conscience since her early days of training as a medical physician. After completing her formal education as a medical doctor, she completed her Post Graduate Degree (MSc) in Dermatological Sciences successfully from the prestigious Welsh Institute of Dermatology (UK), known for their pioneering work in the science of Dermatology and Genetic Dermatology. Her research work also includes the history and evolution of Pox Viruses and the Clinical Applications of IPL – A Comparative Study.

Her main interests are Laser Dermatology, non-invasive IPL systems and holistic skin care. She has lectured at various medical institutions and her thesis has received wide acclaim for its bold new look at the future of non-invasive light-based technology in the treatment of skin diseases, cosmetic defects and other novel applications. Her book, Skin Sensibility - A New Approach to Skincare has received rave reviews and is a simple and practical guide to maintaining your skin health proactively.

Please visit her website at

About Ocean Rescue Spa Products

Ocean Rescue’s premium spa products are based on decades of research specifically designed to bring the benefits of the unique properties of seaweed and other marine-based ingredients to individuals and professionals seeking natural solutions to skin care.  The sea is an active element in all Ocean Rescue products – not just merely additives to our proprietary formulas.  

For links to all the papers used to research this article, and to other ocean and marine-based white papers, including The World of Algae, please visit