A vintage wallpaper pattern over disasters.

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Dermatologists Have Bad News to Share About Climate Change

Your climate disaster zone is ruining your skin.

A very bad sunburn.
<p>Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images</p>

If you’ve been avoiding making your annual skin screening appointment for, like, years, rest assured that some things never change: Dermatologists are still obsessed with telling you to wear sunscreen, and your mole probably isn't cancerous (you should get it tested, anyway). But while paper robes with confusing openings aren’t going anywhere, conversations about climate change don’t typically make it into the examination room.

Some doctors think maybe they should. Our skin is our largest organ as well as the one that interacts most immediately with our environment, serving as the first line of defense against harmful microbes; a barrier against UV radiation and pollution; and a regulator of our body temperature via sweat glands. It is, as a result, on the frontline of how our bodies handle their increasingly extreme environments.

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A hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail.
<p>Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images</p>

Mini Chimi was taking a nero with her tramily when she replied to my email. “I believe there is a lot of fear out there associated with the high snow year on the [Pacific Crest Trail],” she told me. “I want to be a positive voice out here.”

Mini didn’t need to worry about coming across as anything else; her writing on The Trek, ablogging platform for long-distance, end-to-end “thru-hikers,” is punctuated by joyous clumps of exclamation points.

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