What are the Side Effects of Not Applying Sunscreen?

Every day, we are constantly faced with various pollutants such as the sun and dust that are unavoidable.

Sunlight plays an important role in damaging your skin causing sunburn, dull skin, dark circles, freckles, wrinkles, aging, and the scariest part – it increases the risk of skin cancer in the long run.

That’s why dermatologists regularly stress the importance of applying sunscreen daily regardless of the weather!

Yes, even when you are indoors and sitting in your office, sunscreens help to protect against blue light from computer monitors as well as mobile phones.

By not applying sunscreen, the long-term effects are more likely to appear as sunlight can send radiation and penetrate deeply into your skin’s inner layer. 

side effects not applying sunscreen

The Benefits of Applying Sunscreen

  • Protect skin from sunburn and damage
  • Prevent against the occurrence of dark circles and spots
  • Protect the skin against UVA and UVB rays
  • Protect the skin from pollution so that the skin does not become dry 
  • Help strengthen the skin
  • Prevent freckles 
  • Reduce the risks of skin cancer
  • Prevent wrinkles and premature aging

So, How Important is it to Apply Sunscreen? 

One of the main reasons for applying sunscreen is to defend the skin against UV rays that contribute significantly to the destruction of skin cells by destroying collagen under the skin leading to wrinkles, aging and can even be as dangerous as damaging white blood cells.

Hence, being exposed to the sun for a long-duration without protection may weaken your immune system. 

Applying sunscreen daily can help maintain collagen under the skin to remain elastic and reduce skin problems such as dull skin, signs of aging, and freckles caused by the damage of the skin’s layers from the sun.

Applying sunscreen daily is your best protection that also helps with reducing the appearance of wrinkles. 

Side Effects of Not Applying Sunscreen 

Not applying sunscreen can lead to both short-term and long-term effects as follows:

Wrinkles and Premature Aging 

Many people continue to think that applying sunscreen daily is not necessary because the sun is not always out.

This is a common misconception as people often forget that UV rays do not just stop working and not harm your skin when there is no sun. In fact, UV is the main cause of wrinkles, saggy skin as we get older.

Collagen is the skin declines with age and deteriorates even more when the skin is exposed to UVA rays as it destroys the elastin. Apart from being a catalyst leading the skin to look older, UVB rays also lead to skin burns. 

Not applying sunscreen

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is alarmingly common and develops when there is abnormal growth and division of skin cells. Cancer happens mostly on the skin that has been excessively exposed to the sun.

In severe cases, skin cancer can occur on any part of the body and may spread to nearby tissues or other organs. The most common cause is UV rays from the sun therefore the best protection is to wear sunscreen every day.

We recommend SPF 15 or more when staying indoors and SPF 30 or higher before going out into the sun for at least 20 – 30 minutes. For maximum protection, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours throughout the day. 

Skin Burn

Acute Sunburn:

Likely to be redness and pain for about 3 – 5 days. The skin may peel due to exfoliation in order to replace new skin cells 

Moderate Sunburn:

Experience more pain than usual. Skin is swollen and red with a burning sensation. Normally takes about 1 week for the skin to be rescued. The skin may start to peel off 2-3 days after it has healed. 

Severe Sunburn:

Redness of the skin and substantial pain and burning sensations. Take action fast by seeking a doctor for treatment at the hospital or rest in bed at home. The recovery process may take up to 2 weeks. 

Change in Functions of Skin Cells

The skin consists of 3 layers that usually perform different functions as follow


The top layer of the skin, protecting the skin from toxins, bacteria, dehydration, and skin exfoliation. 


the main components found are collagen, elastin, tissues which provide strength, elasticity, and help the skin to look healthy and youthful.

In fact, the hyaluronic acid in the dermis is the substance that binds collagen and elastin together. The dermis can also store water in the skin well.

That being said, external factors such as sunlight and temperature changes affect collagen and elastin levels. As we age, the production of collagen elastin and the hyaluronic acid’s capacity to retain water declines.

This causes the skin to lose its firmness and elasticity leading to wrinkles. 

Subcutaneous fat:

Consists of fat, protein, collagen, and various blood vessels. It is responsible for storing energy and acts as a padding to protect your muscles and bones. 

Side Effects on Skin Cells 

what are the risk not apply sunscreen

UV rays are damaging to the skin especially UVA rays that can penetrate deep down to the lower surface of the skin, the dermis.

In fact, both UVA and UVB rays damage skin cells especially by inducing free radical formation in the skin that leads to premature aging, chronic illnesses, and other diseases including skin cancer.

Research has shown that 90% of skin cancer is due to sunlight. Another reason why it is absolutely crucial to apply sunscreen every day and avoid being in the sun during the hottest time of the day. 


The damages caused by UVA/ UVB radiation to the dermis affects collagen, elastin production, and the skin’s water retention. As a result, wrinkles are more likely to develop.

UV rays and indoor lights are both invisible to the naked eye and play an important role in the formation of wrinkles and making the skin look older than it is. 

Dark Spots

Sunlight is one of the main causes of freckles and dark spots as UV rays stimulate the production of melanin pigment in the skin. As a matter of fact, melanin acts like a physical barrier that protects the skin from UV rays when it is exposed to the sun.

Suntanning occurs because exposure to sunlight leads the skin to increase the production of melanin resulting in darker skin. However, repeated exposure to sunlight causes dark spots, freckles, and dull skin.

To protect your skin, avoid being in the sun for too long, cover your skin with long-sleeved shirts, and apply sunscreen. 

Aneurysm Disease

Aneurysm symptoms can be seen when capillaries branch out with many visible bloodlines appearing on the skin. Symptoms of aneurysm disease can occur on any part of the skin or stay concentrated in one area.

The root cause of the disease is still unclear and may be due to various factors that are linked to heredity and environmental triggers.

One possible causative factor is excessive exposure to UV rays as it causes the skin layer to become thinner making capillaries clearly visible. 

Weakened Immune System

Sunlight at the right time especially in the morning helps to generate Vitamin D that is essential for optimal health and strengthening your bones.

However, as we know sunlight also contains UVA, UVB, and UVC rays that are harmful to the body and are the root cause of damage to the skin. Plus, UVA rays are harmful to DNA and result in a weakened immune system.

In fact, a weakened immune system makes it more likely to develop cancer and reduces the effectiveness of vaccines. 

Damage to White Blood Cells

UV rays can cause damage to white blood cells and alter their function. This is crucial as white blood cells are the body’s defense against foreign invaders that may cause harm to the body and health.

Repeated exposure to UV radiation weakens the immune system. As the white blood cells get damaged, the risks of infections increase especially when exposed to sunlight for a longtime rash and dermatitis are more likely to develop. 

Inflammatory Burns from Sunburn 

Excessive exposure to sunlight can lead to sunburn. The gradual burning of the skin leads to burning sensations such as swelling, redness and/or itching. 

The sunburn and bruising results from the body’s natural defense mechanism fighting against UV rays. By choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, you can protect yourself from both UVA and UVB rays.

Medical attention is advised for cases of severe sunburn and skin effects such as feeling sore around the wounded area for more than 2 days. 


Wound and scars are very sensitive areas of the skin and exposure to sunlight can darken scars permanently. Thus, scars should be carefully protected especially before going outdoors by applying sunscreen or using tape to cover the scar.

This not only helps to protect against sunlight but also reduces tension around the area. Refrain from exercising or moving often around the wounded area as this can interfere with the skin’s self-repairing process and may lead to scarring. 

As you can now see, the side effects of not applying sunscreen can lead to terrible long-term effects. If you are wondering if you need to apply sunscreen daily, the answer is simply yes.

Sunscreens not only protect your skin and its beauty but also protect from various side effects, diseases, and allergies that come with serious consequences. 

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