Moderate exposure to sunlight has health benefits, such as stimulating vitamin D production in the body, but too much sun exposure leads to serious effects, such as sunburn and skin cancer, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Patient.co.uk notes that exposure to the sun also causes burning, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Patient.co.uk reports that excessive exposure to sunlight causes short-term damage, such as sunburn, and long-term damage, such as skin cancer. There are two primary types of harmful ultraviolet sunlight: UVA and UVB. UVA rays damage the dermis, the middle layer of the skin, and they make the skin look older and wrinkled. UVB rays get absorbed by the epidermis, the upper layer of the skin, and cause tanning and burning. Both of these ultraviolet rays increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Excessive sun exposure is considered the cause of around six in 10 melanoma skin cancers.
Overexposure to the sun for a short period causes burning and makes the skin hot, red and painful, explains Patient.co.uk. Too much sunlight also leads to heat exhaustion, which happens when the body's core temperature rises from a normal temperature of around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A core body temperature that increases above 104 F is a sign of heatstroke, which is fatal in extreme cases.