What causes Skin cancer?

We have understood one thing that Ultraviolet rays from sun are the major reason for skin cancer. But, if skin cancer appears on areas that are not exposed to sun, then the cause can be different. The UV light from the sun is harmful enough to alter or mutate the DNA in skin cells. This DNA mutation results in proliferation or mass production of cells. But other than this, there are several other factors involved. Prior to understanding what are the causes, let’s understand what all cells are involved in skin cancer. 

  • The epidermis or top layer of skin is where the skin cancer first begins. But, this epidermis is made of different cells. The type of skin cancer depends on the cells which are affected.
  • Squamous cells are the inner lining cells of the skin which found just below the outer layer of the skin. The skin cancer affected by the proliferation of these cells is known as Squamous cell Carcinoma.
  • Basal cells are those cells that are involved in new cell generation and it sits under the squamous cells.
  • Melanocytes are the cells that are found in the deep layer of the skin. This one produces the pigment cells, melanin. While we are out under the sun, melanin production occurs to protect our skin from the sunlight. The reason why we darken while under the sun. If any damage to these cells, then it is called as Melanoma.



Some of the other factors responsible for skin cancer are 

  • Fairer Skin- They have less melanin and thus less protection
  • Tanning beds- the lights are so harmful
  • Excessive sun exposure- Excessive exposure to sunlight can harm your skin.
  • Presence of abnormal moles- The abnormal moles have more chances of becoming cancerous.
  • Weaker Immune System- An individual with a weaker immune system has high chances of getting skin cancer.


To some extent, it is in our hands to prevent skin cancer. Let’s discuss how can we prevent skin cancer in the next article.

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