Sunburn: A Civilization Disease

Noah J. D. Steckley1/25/2024
No affiliation


Sunburn is damaging. Understandable fear of this damage has led the public and researchers alike to adopt a perspective which considers the sun inherently damaging, and a primary cancerous risk. Evolutionary theory, by contrast, would propose that we are adapted to the ever-present stimulus of the sun, that protection would be in place for its negatives, and that the experience of negative effects like cancers are more explainable as results of recent changes in our species' manner of interacting with the sun. Fear of the sun itself interfers with the natural development of adaptive resistance, possibly creating the danger in the first place. Here, I examine the research on the dangers of sun exposure, sun tanning, and sunburn, provide some experimental data on the potential effects of tanning and the plausibility of a proposed behavioral procedure for reliably safe sun exposure.


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