Is Bronzed Better? Knowing the Risks of Sun Tanning

woman sun tanning

It’s an unfair truth that we all look better with a little tan. That is if you have the type of skin that will tan. It makes you look thinner and gives you a kind of glow.

But why is that unfair? Because any “glow” from your tan is actually visible skin damage. If you got a tan, you damaged your skin.

There are a lot of myths about tanning, like the infamous (but incorrect) base tan. Any natural tan puts you at a higher risk of cancer – so you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Learn about the dangers of sun tanning here.

What is a Tan?

Okay, let’s start at the beginning (it’s a very good place to start). What happens when you get a tan? How does it all work? 

Well, if you have the kind of skin that tans and doesn’t burn, sun exposure brings out more melanin in the body. Melanin is a naturally occurring skin pigment that’s responsible for your natural born skin color.

People with naturally dark skin have more melanin than those born a lighter hue.

When you tan, the melanin that’s hanging out in your body comes to the surface and temporarily darkens your skin. A tan will fade in two to three weeks, depending on the depth of the color.

Which, coincidentally, is the same amount of time a fake tan lasts. If you want it gone before then, you’ll need a tan remover.

What Does Melanin Do in Sun Tanning?

The fact that your body is bringing melanin to the surface is it trying to protect itself from the sun. That’s why people in classically hot countries have darker skin than those who come from somewhere cold.

It acts as an SPF, but not nearly enough to protect you from skin damage and potential cancer risk. A tan will give you about a 4 SPF rating, where you at least need 15.

What Are the Dangers?

Tanning is one of the largest leading causes of skin cancer around the world. Skin cancer is the most easily preventable cancer (wear sunscreen!) but that doesn’t mean an untreated mole can’t kill you.

Sun tanning also ruins your skin over time. The more exposure to the sun you get without proper sun protection, the more wrinkles you’re going to end up with.

Not only wrinkles but dark spots and leathery looking skin as well.

Finally – sun tanning can even hurt your eyes. The bright light from the sun can damage your delicate peepers and lead to vision problems down the line.

Always wear sunglasses and sunscreen when you’re outside!

The easiest way to make sure you get your sun protection it is to find a makeup that has an SPF built in. Most SPF makeups will come with 15 SPF, but more is better.

Ask your dermatologist if they have any recommendations or ask the person at your favorite beauty store. They’ll help you get a nice, safe, makeup-based glow and be on your way.

You can find more beauty advice here.