FOR SOME people, “sun’s out, guns out” is a summer motto, part of an annual ritual of long days, searing heat and slathering on sunblock while following the sun around the beach or poolside.
But those might not exactly be words to live by, according to doctors and scientists at the University of Manchester. Not only can toasting on a beach contribute to skin cancer and cause “damage to DNA in skin cells, inflammation, and premature skin ageing,” it can also undermine the skin’s defences against pathogens, the researchers warned, leading to conditions such as dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.
As the human body’s largest organ, the skin is home to complex arrangements of bacteria that protect the body, known as the microbiome.
But short-term but intense exposure to the sun “significantly affects the diversity and composition of their skin microbiota,” said the university’s Abigail Langton.
The study, which published in the journal Frontiers in Aging, “was performed in real-life holidaymakers and provides important insights into how sun exposure resulting in a tanning response – even over a relatively short sunny period – can lead to an acute reduction in proteobacteria abundance, which decreased skin microbiota diversity,” said Langton’s colleague Thomas Wilmott.