The burning truth about sun tanning
We all love the idea of “sun-kissed” skin because we think that it equates to a “healthy tan”. The sad news for all of us however is that there is really no such thing as a healthy tan. In fact, a tan is actually your skin's way of showing you that it has been damaged by the sun’s harmful UV rays.
The sun produces three kinds of rays: UV-C, UV-B and UV-A. UV-C rays are the least harmful as they don’t penetrate the ozone layer. UV-A rays are around all year and UV-B more in summer. UV-A rays release free radicals and can cause skin damage, while UV-B rays cause surface tanning, burning and signs of ageing – both are harmful to the skin in large quantities. Tanning beds and lamps also produce both UV-A and UV-B rays and are therefore not a safer solution to sun exposure.
A sun tan is seen when the skin produces an increased level of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin’s colour) as this is the body’s attempt to help protect the skin from further damage. The increased melanin also causes the skin to darken (what some people refer to as a “base tan”) but it is not enough to protect your skin from further UV exposure, burning or damage.
Sun burn is the next level after a sun tan and can be identified by redness and peeling. When UV rays reach the skin, they damage cells in the epidermis and dermis, causing an immune response in the body that increases blood flow and signals white blood cells to attack. The increased blood flow causes the red appearance of skin that can also be warm to the touch, while the white blood cells remove damaged cells, causing itching and peeling. Sun burn is not always evident immediately and can take up to 48 hours to develop in people with medium to darker skins.
So, now that we know the facts, what can we do about it?
Staying indoors all the time is not much fun, but whilst a sun burn fades, sun damage lasts. The best thing you can do is to make sure that you give your skin the best protection you can. Simple habits like the following can go a long way to making a big difference to your skin: wear a hat and sunglasses whenever we are outside for long periods, cover-up exposed skin especially between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are strongest, and applying a sunscreen (minimum SPF15) every 1.5-2 hours which protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays on all exposed areas daily.
You can still live your most beautiful life by reducing the effects that the sun can have on your skin by replacing the essential skin nutrients that your skin needs every day. Using the Environ Vitamin STEP-UP SYSTEM™ Ranges (Ionzyme® or Original) together with RAD SPF15 daily will help you to look after the one skin you have for life.