Why do humans need sunscreen, but animals, with or without fur/feathers, do just fine without?


Seriously, a bad sunburn could limit our ability to survive in the wild. I’ve had a few so bad I could barely move and I had a super high fever. Desn’t that happen to animals? How do they manage?

In: 31

Animals can absolutely get sunburnt too.

They just have adaptations to help protect against it. The same way humans with ancestry closer to the equator have more melanin that those from more northern latitudes.

Mammals with hair/fur are obviously protected by their fur. Same goes to animals with feathers. The same way our clothing blocked sunlight so does their fur/feathers.

Ones without like elephants, rhinos, hippos, all have very very thick skin.

Then reptile scales are completely different than skin, and also very thick, to be able to be out in the sun.

I’m no expert, but fur and feathers are protecting the animals skin from the harmful rays that cause sunburn. Without fur, animals like dogs and cats will get burned from too much sun.

Animals, especially those without fur/scales, can totally get sunburnt. They learned to coat themselves in mud, hippos sweat out something that works like sunscreen for them, elephants throw sand on their back. Basically, they evolved to be in the conditions they live in, and they found some sort of solution it seems. If they did not find a way to stay out of the sun & didn’t know to do this they totally would fry their skin.

My girlfriends horse gets sunburn on its nose a lot so she has to apply sunscreen to it pretty regularly in the summer time. Other than that I
couldn’t name another animal that gets sunburn. Was surprised myself when I learned lol

Also, many animals live in places where they evolved over ages to adapt (ex. Polar bear fur for snowy climates, etc), but humans have been travelling for ages. So, as a white-skinned Canadian, my body is built for northern Scotland where the risk of sunburn is very low. The indigenous ppl who lived here for thousands of years have skin less prone to bad burns. Also, we screwed up the ozone layer, so everyone is susceptible to bad burns and skin cancer anyway.

White and maybe other light skinned cats can get skin cancer, mostly on their ears.
Birds’ skin produce some kind of protective wax, so the bald-headed birds like vultures don’t get burnt.

Your premise is wrong, not only animals do get sunburnt, a lot of humans (mostly black people) only get sunburnt to an extent.

You get a serious sunburn because you spend 99% of the time not directly exposed to sunlight. People like pro cyclists only get mild sunburns (if at all) on their face/arms/legs because they are exposed all year long so they have a nice coating of melanine.

I have sunscreen for my dog. She’s a pit mix with short hair and can turn very pink in the sun!

Aside from the fact that animals can get sunburnt. I think the core of your issue is that you were suddenly exposed to a lot sunlight while you were completely not used to it, if you slowly adjusted to it instead of suddenly spending a lot of time in intense sunlight while you never did that before, you would have probably been much better off.

Human skin gets darker/lighter with exposure to sunlight, as well as people evolved lighter/darker skin corresponding to the region they were living in.

Take these two factors into account, and it wouldn’t hinder them as much, cause they would be used to it, and have also evolved the skin color to deal with it.

Dogs can definitely get sunburnt. There is a pretty common treatment of tattooing the top portion of their nose black to help combat it. Common in collies but can also happen to huskies or malamutes. Nose is mostly black but might have pink section, or the fur is real thin just behind their nose.

I have hairless dogs and I need to limit the time they are out in the sun. If there are going to be out for a long time we need to put “tshirts” on them to protect them.

My neighbor had one of those bold Mexican dogs and she would put sunscreen on it when going to the park with him . I thought it was funny but it made all the sense.

We are more exposed to UVA and UVB. Although I don’t know much about animals and UV I’d assume they can burn too since they have skin. We just don’t have a heavy layer protecting us.

Notice when you go to the beach all those white pastie bodies… that’s not normal

Most of us are not use to being in the wild.

Look at people who live in the country/farms, they have weathered tanned skin

I hear you. The reason this is a question is that society is still so skewed toward a designer led evolution system. The Great Architect is the proposed religious answer to reconciling god and genesis.

You have to change your mode of thought – its not that its advantageous or that nature designed us or we “adapted” — its just that it didn’t kill us.

People with fair skin, like Northern European redheads – wouldn’t have survived in sunny climates. But because they didn’t have to, they/we didn’t die out. Its not just about what made you successful but if it wasn’t something that stopped you from not procreating, then it doesn’t matter.

An example is male pattern baldness, heart disease, etc. If the condition occurred after the possibility of producing off-spring, then the genes will survive. Obviously, if the condition was so severe, that families couldn’t raise their off-spring that would have an impact.

Most things, people included, are well-adapted to the environment in which they evolved.

The people who need sunscreen are generally those whose ancestors evolved in the less sunny climates.

Yea your premise has some misconceptions there.
Pale people get sunburnt – The rest of us with darker shades don’t need sunscreen, maybe for UV protection only.
I lived in the tropics with very intense midday sun. It’s not wise to go out without sunscreen (radiation) but I do anyway. I’ve never been sunburnt in my life so I have no idea what’s that like.

In addition to the other comments about other animals also protecting themselves in different ways, if a human get sunburnt continously our skin darkens and we develop some additional protection. That’s until we develop skin cancer that is. But evolution generally does not care what happens to us after child bearing and rearing age and evolution is generally completely fine with you drying at the ripe old age of 35 🙂

They don’t? My friends dog died from skin cancer because she got burned too many times while sunbathing

I saw a stray dog 2 weeks ago that had lost a lot of fur. It was bright pink! Absolutely burnt 🙁