Many people attempt to achieve the perfect sun tan, while there are many others who have to spend hours in the sun for work. The long hours spent soaking in the sunlight can play havoc with your skin. Termed as sun tan, it basically occurs because of increased exposure to ultra violet (UV) rays present in sunlight leading to increase in melanin content of the skin.
What is melanin?
Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its colour. People with light skin have less melanin than dark skinned people. When skin is damaged by UV rays, the body makes more melanin to try to guard against more harm. This extra melanin gives suntanned skin its darker appearance . We often take huge pains to get rid of sun tan, as it leaves the skin looking dark and dull.
Harms of too much sun tanning
Frequent tanning and exposure to UV light is a major risk factor for skin cancers. According to research, more than 85 percent of all skin cancers are attributed to over-exposure to the sun. Skin which is exposed to sunlight more often is prone to sunburns and premature skin ageing. Eye problems such as cataract and corneal damage also occur as a result of too much exposure to the sun .
So, here are 4 ways to deal with that stubborn sun tan:
Make sunscreen your best friend: Skin care experts couldn’t emphasis this more – sunscreen is your knight in shining armour against the harsh sun. Apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher prior to going out. Re-apply the sunscreen every two hours. And yes! You are exposed to UV rays on cloudy days too.
Go chemical: In case of severe sun tanning which results in hyper-pigmentation, treatments such as chemical peels can work wonders. The fundamental mechanism of the action of chemical peels is the elimination of unnecessary melanin by causing a controlled chemical burn to the skin .
Prevention better than cure: To avoid getting tanned, opt for scarves and hats to cover up and stay protected. Wear full sleeved clothing when going out, especially during noon time when the sun rays are very strong .
Avoid sun bathing and tanning beds: While getting a tan may appear fashionable, sun bathing for hours can lead to age spots and cause skin wrinkles.
. JAMA Network , JAMA , Suntan and Sunburn . 2015. JAMA Network , JAMA , Suntan and Sunburn . [ONLINE] Available at: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=2383280. [Accessed 18 December 2015].
. Chemical peels (face peels). DermNet NZ. 2015. Chemical peels (face peels). DermNet NZ. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dermnetnz.org/procedures/peels.html. [Accessed 18 December 2015].
. Is a Tan Ever a Good Thing? - SkinCancer.org. 2015. Is a Tan Ever a Good Thing? - SkinCancer.org. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/tanning/is-a-tan-ever-a-good-thing. [Accessed 18 December 2015].