(Too Much) Fun in the Photons


A UV radiation induced thymine-thymine cyclobu...

A UV radiation induced thymine-thymine cyclobutane dimer (right) is the type of DNA damage which is undone by photolyase. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having thus far avoided grossing everyone out with pictures of my penance for past overindulgence in photons, there can be no reason to begin now. Suffice it to say the swelling is going down, my face has been spared further Thymine poison, and there is every reason to believe the Fluorouracil has done its job.

Photons are little quanta of energy emitted and absorbed by mass according to its temperature. Some really smart people will argue they don’t exist, but some nasty things for your skin come from that yellow ball in the sky that warms  during the day and goes away at night. Let’s just call them photons.

The  high energy shortwave photons are the worst. They can damage the DNA deep in your skin. Just like they penetrate deep into water to warm our oceans.

UV and Skin

The graphic above from Intech does not mention Thymine dimers, probably because they seem to be part of the pyrimidine cycle, but fluorouracil appears to work by causing “thymineless death” in damaged and aberrant skin cells.

The really remarkable lesson for me from Efudex treatment is how similar the effect on my skin was to sunburn. It felt like a burn, it itched, it peeled, it felt tight, it blistered. It was as if I were reliving all the sunburns of my past  as penance.

Two weeks after ending applications to my face I’m still pink and peeling. No prior sunburn ever lasted that long!

I hide in the shadows now, avoiding photons like the plague, for they have visited a plague on me, indeed.

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