We all know that enviable sun-kissed glow from natural sunlight can come at a very high price. We also know that remembering to apply sunscreen 365 days out of the year in addition to everything else we have to remember can be a challenge. But a new study reminds us how important it is to keep our skin protected.

Turns out that each cell in healthy skin actually has thousands of mutations caused by sun exposure. And nearly 25 percent of skin cells in non-cancer patients had at least one cancer-associated mutation. From the 234 biopsies performed on the patients, the researchers found “100 cancer-associated mutations per square centimetre of skin” and “estimate that each sun-exposed skin cell accumulated on average a new mutation in its genome for nearly every day of life.”

Though there are still many unanswered questions regarding the development of skin cancer and why some people don’t develop it regardless of constant sun exposure, this study (along with survivor stories, like the Woman Who Had Skin Cancer 77 Times)  does really open one’s eyes to the importance of skin protection!

READ MORE: Skin Cancer Symptoms 101