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Disease Overview

A sunburn is when you can start to see reddening, inflammation, and, in severe cases, blistering and peeling of the skin caused by overexposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Defining Characteristics

Inflammation, erythema

Disease Development

Determined by total UVB energy absorbed (ind of duration)
Inflammation (cytokines, histamine, prostaglandins, serotonin) cause redness; increased adhesion protein expression –> immune cell recruitment

Potential Causes

Failed or incomplete repair of thymine dimers
–> mutations in p53 (higher risk for non- melanoma skin cancers)


Endothelial swelling, decreased langerhans, neutrophil recruitment, apoptotic keratinocytes (bright pink)
areas of hyperplasia (thickened stratum corneum, epidermis, dermis)


Major risk factor for non- melanoma and melanoma skin cancers