Sun tanning is not pretty. it cannot be considered attractive in any way. Regardless of whether you obtain a tan from the sun or from using sun lamps, it is still not safe and can lead to serious skin damage. Even exposure to sunlight without any protection can cause long-term harm. We often think that getting a deep, dark tan requires long hours under the sun, but this is not necessarily true and puts us at risk of damaging our skin irreparably. That is only part of the picture. Sun damage begins the moment you walk out of the house. Anytime during the day, whether it is sunny or cloudy. (At least 40% to 50% of the sun’s rays penetrate cloud cover). Sun damage is cumulative. The more sun exposure you get, the worse your skin will look and be in the long run. You need to wear sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher every day to prevent premature ageing from UV radiation. While it might take a short period for some of us to get sunburnt, the risk of wrinkles and skin cancer can start from the minute our skin is exposed to sunlight. Additionally, it could take between one to two hours for those who tan easily. Sun exposure, day in and day out, can cause visible and physical harm to the skin over time. Even sitting by a window allows UVA radiation to penetrate through, thus doing damage that accumulates with each passing day.
How The Skin Reacts
If you expose your skin to the sun, it will respond by darkening, regardless of how light or dark your natural skin tone is. Even when wearing sunscreen, your skin can still get damaged from sunlight. This can’t be right; it might appear attractive but isn’t good for the skin. Melanocytes are a type of skin cell, which contain melanin – a brown-coloured protein pigment and they are what determines an individual’s naturally occurring hue. Surprisingly, the difference between the lightest skin colour and the darkest is only a very small amount of melanin. With exposure to the sun, the melanocytes produce more melanin, and tanned skin is the result. The list of skin colours is an ever-changing one. Ethnicity, geographic location, and age have an influence on what skin colour someone has. The list below is a compilation of some common ethnic and geographical backgrounds. To give you a general idea of what some people’s skin colour may be like: Latinos – light brown to brown; Mediterranean people – olive tones; Asians – yellowish and sometimes fair. Africans – dark brown or black, depending on the ethnicity. But here’s another shock: Despite the fact that tanning is a protective response, it is not very helpful. By some estimates, a tan provides an SPF of only about 2. Unfortunately, there is no way that a tan of any kind can be considered healthy. As one dermatologist described it, a tan is like a callus on your foot. Yes, it protects the foot, but who wants that kind of protection and why would you continue doing what caused the callus in the first place?
Darker skin tones are more resistant to skin cancer as they contain more brown melanin, which acts as a natural sun protector. In contrast, lighter-skinned individuals carry smaller amounts of yellow and red melanins that lack the same level of protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The parts of the skin that reflect light from the sun are called pigments. The pigment cells in people’s skin act as sunscreen, absorbing some of the sun’s harmful UV rays before they reach deeper layers of the skin. Brown pigmentation offers more protection than other colours such as yellow and red.
Individuals with darker skin complexion may still be at risk of developing ashen skin, mottling, wrinkles and even skin cancer due to exposure to ultraviolet rays. Therefore, protection from the sun is essential for all. Skin cancer is less likely, but the risk of skin damage and wrinkling is certain. Black people with light skin have a lower risk of skin cancer. This is because the melanin in their skin protects them from the sun’s harmful rays.
Skin tanning is not pretty, it has more side effects than good. “It is important to know the difference between self-tanning, tanning while on vacation, and sun exposure.”The goal of self-tanning is not to look like a bronzed supermodel with a golden tan. The goal is to create your own unique colour scheme for your natural skin tone.”No matter the source, be it the sun or a tanning lamp, there is no such thing as a safe tan. ALL tanning other than from a self-tanner is a problem.