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Why can't you feel a sunburn as it happens?


Why can't you feel it until it's already happened?

3495 day(s) ago

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Mr. Boxy
Your body treats a sunburn like it's an infection.



Ultraviolet light from the sun damages thymine molecules, one of the base components of DNA. Your cells can repair this damage up to a point, but if the damage out-paces these repairs the cell will die. This takes a while, so you can't observe the damage until it hits this tipping point.

Eventually enough cells will die that your immune system will kick in, increasing blood flow to the area to send in white blood cells to clean up the mess. It's this extra blood that flow makes your skin red, a condition known as erythemia. It also heats the area, creating a localized fever. Finally, the nerve cells will begin sending pain messages, and the dead cells will start to separate from the rest of your skin. You now have a sunburn.

Posted 3495 day ago

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