We all know what it looks like when we tan. But most of us don’t know why or even how we tan. Tanning is actually quite simple. It’s your skin’s response to defending itself from the sun. When you lay out in the sun for a long period of time your skin starts to produce melanin as a way to defend the damage that is happening. Melanin is stimulated by sun exposure and protects the cells by blocking the UV radiation. Good to know right?
A tan is basically damaged cells. So when your skin returns to it’s natural pigment that’s your cells repairing itself from the damage that the sun is responsible for. The darker you become from tanning, the more damaged your cells get and the longer it will take for them to repair.
Now I know that there’s no way for us to avoid the sun. We love it! But we should never overexpose ourselves to it. It can cause skin damage, premature aging and in some cases, skin cancer.
Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays penetrate directly pass the epidermis into the dermis of the skin. This ray damages collagen and elastin. This light is what you would normally get if you use tanning beds.
Ultraviolet B (UVB) is a burning ray. Hence the B. This ray is what burns the skin. At this point in the game your cells are considered damaged and needs some repairing.
So should you go tanning? Well of course you should never actually “go tanning”. It’s just like saying “let’s go burn some cells and produce skin cancer!” As appealing as it looks to glisten like a glazed donut in the sun, it’s actually damaging and in some cases can be permanent. So please be cautious and always wear sunscreen.