It is a sunny day, and you want to visit the beach. You wish to spend hours in the sun to get that perfect tan. Today is the day, you have been waiting for, to get that perfect skin tone on your body.
Now, before these lines tempt you into leaving for the beach, we would like to share with you some facts about tanning and why you should probably hold that thought!
The human body reacts to every threat faced, whether it may be internal or external. One of those threats is the harmful UV rays.
When we go out in the sun, harmful UV ray tries to penetrate the skin. As a reaction to this, our body starts producing a chemical under the surface layers of the skin. This chemical is known as melanin and it is responsible for the brown colour of the skin. The production of melanin acts as a barrier and helps absorb the UV rays. This production of melanin is what causes the skin colour to change, resulting in a tan.
Tanning, good or bad?
Little Tan is no big deal, you might think. But this tan comes with a set of problems altogether. To understand this, we need to dig deeper into the science behind tanning.
The sunlight contains two UV radiations that reach the skin: UVA and UVB. UVB radiation is responsible for burning the upper layer of skin (the epidermis), causing sunburns. On the other hand, UVA radiation is what causes tan. UVA rays penetrate the lower layers of the skin, this activates melanocytes (cells) and triggers the production of melanin, which is the cause of tanning. Production of melanin is our body’s way of protecting skin, as this chemical absorbs the rays from the sun.
UVA rays are hazardous for skin, as they penetrate deep into the layers of skin, blood vessels, and nerves. Due to this, they can damage a person’s immune system and cause Melanoma. Melanoma was earlier found in people in their fifties, but today dermatologists see patients in their teens and twenties also developing this type of cancer. It is believed by experts that this is due to the use of tanning beds and sun lamps that have high levels of UVA rays.
Besides cancer, there are many common problems associated with UV exposure. These include premature ageing and serious eye problems such as cataracts. Hence, we can conclude that even if tanning might seem like a good idea aesthetically, it can lead to far more hazardous anomalies.
Do’s and Don’ts
Staying out of the sun is something which is not feasible, therefore, we need to find a balance between enjoying the sun and getting protection from it at the same time, so that we don’t miss out on the fun. Below mentioned are some tips that you might want to keep handy to maintain that delicate balance.
- Use a sunscreen– every time you leave your house on a sunny day always remember to wear sunscreen with an SPF range of at least 30. Sunscreen with a higher SPF number provides more protection against UV rays.
- Dual protection– a sunscreen with a broad spectrum that blocks both UVA & UVB should be preferred.
- Take a break- Sun’s rays are strongest from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Try avoiding exposure during these hours.
- Dress better- Whenever you are going out in the sun, try wearing a hat with a brim and polarized sunglasses.
- Reapply sunscreen- The UV rays can break down the ingredients in the sunscreen when directly exposed. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen from time to time.
- Never use these- Tanning beds, sun lamps, and other drugs that claim of giving you a tan.
So next time you leave your home for shopping or would like to spend time on the beach, always remember to keep sunscreen handy.
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