You can’t argue with the facts: tanning is bad for your health and bad for your looks. Even if you never burn, a tan is a telltale sign that you’re causing permanent damage to your skin. The darkening of your skin is actually your skin’s attempt to protect itself from further exposure. Unfortunately, this reaction isn’t very effective. A dark tan only gives you the same protection as an SPF 4 sunscreen, and you need an SPF of at least 30.
It’s true that not everybody who tans will get skin cancer. But everyone who regularly exposes themselves to too much UV radiation will start looking old much earlier.
If you tan a lot, you’ll have more wrinkles, saggy and leathery skin, and more unattractive age spots and discolouration. These effects are permanent, because your skin can’t repair itself from all the UV radiation you’re throwing at it. While your suntan will disappear over time, the damage it caused is remembered permanently by your skin.
A sunburn is an extreme reaction to too much UV radiation. On a sunny summer day, unprotected skin can burn in less than 15 minutes.
When they are blasted with too much UV radiation, cells in the outer layer of the skin are programmed to die an early death. When this happens, you’ll notice your skin flaking and peeling off.
A sunburn also damages your immune system, making you more likely to catch an infectious illness or disease.
If you get a severe sunburn – or many sunburns – you are at greater risk for developing melanoma, the most dangerous and deadly form of skin cancer. This is especially true if this exposure occurs before the age of 18.
Old before your time
You can get that leathery, sun-beaten look by taking a ride in Mother Nature’s Time Machine!
It’s easy! Simply:
- Lie in the sun without protection
- Use tanning beds and sun lamps
- Never wear a hat
- Ski in the winter without sunscreen
And voila – by your 30th birthday, you’ll look like you’re 60!