Why do sun burns hurt when touched and not when they happend?


Why do sun burns hurt when touched and not when they happend?

In: Biology

I’m not sure if this is the correct answer and hopefully someone will be able to give you the right answer, but i always assumed it was because it was burning you so slowly you don’t realize. Like that old science experiment (totally unethical now) where if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it would obviously flinch and jump out immediately but if you put a frog in a pot of tap water then put that on a burner to let it boil on the lowest setting, the frog would stay in there until it dies because the temperature is raising so slowly.

The painful symptoms of sunburn – inflamed sensitive skin – aren’t the product of the sun damage itself, but rather of your body’s system immune system response to the sun damage.

The initial damage is molecular damage to your DNA. It takes some time for your body to notice the damage and for your immune system to mount a full response.

It’s because it mostly damages the DNA in the cells, but leaves the rest of it more or less alone. You don’t notice until the cells try to divide and can’t because the blueprint to make a new cell has been destroyed.

It’s the same reason sun exposure causes skin cancer. Sometimes it fucks the DNA up just enough that it forgets when and why it’s supposed to divide or let itself die, so it just starts making a bunch of extra cells with little rhyme or reason.

EDIT: to add in because someone else mentioned it, the immune response with the inflammation and heat happens because now the body has a bunch of dead and dying skin cells it needs to clear out and replace. It might even have some precancerous stuff it needs to try and catch and destroy before it becomes a much bigger problem.

As a very pale ginger, I can say that it is completely possible to feel the pain of a sunburn as it’s happening.