Its summer time, and depending on which part of the world you’re from, you may prepare to chill on the beach and get that much awaited tan or run indoors to prevent yourself from looking darker. Though Indians are not great fans of getting tanned, we do indulge in summer activities on the beach or just the travelling in the scorching sun may unwittingly get a tan.
First of all, a tan for anyone is not a good idea. If your Fitzpatrick skin type I or II (white skin) you are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. You may want a bronze look, but it’s actually your melanin multiplying to protect you from DNA mutations from sun damage which eventually give up leading to cancer.
Sunburn is one of the most obvious signs of UV exposure and skin damage. After a few days, you see redness and peeling. Sunburn is a form of short term skin damage but can get very uncomfortable with anything with anything touching the skin, even keeping clothes on becomes difficult. Studies have shown some relation between extreme sunburn and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
If you’re Fitzpatrick skin type III, IV, V (brown to black), you may be at a lesser risk for skin cancer, but there are some more effects of suntan which occur in all skin types –
Premature ageing: tanning causes more premature aging, more wrinkles and blotchy sun spots. The more you tan, the worse your skin looks. No wonder we dermatologists keep advising sunscreen all the time!
Bottom line there is no such thing as a safe tan!
How to avoid Sun Tan?
Take adequate sun protection by taking polypodium Leucotomos (oral sunscreen 400-600mg daily) apply ‘broadspectrum’ sunscreen, wear wide brimmed hat, wear glares to protect your eyes (photokeratitis – like sunburn of the cornea), cover your skin when your outdoors.