Is tanning really bad for you? Is there such a thing as a healthy tan?
on 25 Apr 2017
It is a norm in our ‘vacationing society’ to strive for the best tan possible. Something that we are all guilty of, except for the kids that are too busy splashing around in the water to take notice of tan rituals or the older crowd that are hiding underneath the shade, covered in SPF (and for good reason too).
Often spotted on Egypt’s North Coast beaches, we see both guys and girls soaking themselves with tanning oil and proceeding to roast in the sun in the pursuit of the perfect tan. Shouldn’t we be more careful with our skin though? The weather and sun in Egypt during the summer can get pretty hot. I am sure we have all heard - even in passing - of the harmful effects of the sun.
So, comes the million dollar question? Is tanning really bad for you? And if there such a thing as a healthy tan? The simple answer is no..there is no such thing as a healthy tan and it is bad for you. But of course, to every rule, there is an exception.
Dr. Francesca Fusco, Assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine believes that any change in skin color, whether it is a tan or a burn, is a sign of skin damage.
So how does a tan form?
A tan is the body’s natural defense against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Being exposed to ultraviolet rays causes certain cells to produce the pigment melanin, which then darkens your skin color to protect you from the rays. Straining your skin in this way can overwhelm your skin cells, causing DNA mutations, wrinkles or even the growth of cancer cells - not a very happy situation now, is it? So actually, a tan is not God’s gift to make you look sexier, but it is your skin’s cry of help to stop exposing it to sunlight.
Not to be a buzzkill, but we want all our vacation goes and followers of Elsa7el to know what damage could potentially arise from sitting in the sun. Especially in a country like Egypt, where the sun shines bright and high all day, it is important to be proactive with taking care of your health.
Hold on...you said something about an exception to some rule? Yes, there are some (slight) benefits of sitting in the sun.
The benefits of tanning/sitting in the sun
Have you heard of Vitamin D? It is the magical vitamin that strengthens muscles, builds bones and bolsters your immune system and the best source to get it from is the sun!
Sunlight exposure also elevates our body’s level of serotonin - the same happy hormone that is triggered by sex and chocolate - which in turn, helps with memory, energy, sleep regulation and appetite.
So, yes, sitting in the sun can be beneficial for you - but here is the catch - you have to do it in small and sensible doses.
If you are spending your whole summer laying around a beach in Egypt’s North Coast, then you should do the following:
- Sit in direct sunlight for a maximum of 30 minutes per days and do so during off-peak hours, so before 10:am or after 4:00pm.
- Wear sunscreen, SPF 30 would do it. This can work in your favor, as you can ask your crush to put sunscreen on your back ;).
- Be smart about it and trust that you can look just as beautiful without a tan, maybe just not as skinny - just kidding!