Why a holiday tan can be bad for your health

Posted on the 15 April 2013 at 13:08

There was a time not too long ago, when a tan was one of the most desirable holiday accessories you could wish for. Indeed an ex-colleague, one of the most well know dermatologists in Germany, even used to keep a sun lamp in his office to ensure his tan was always topped up. It was widely believed that the tan was nature's form of sun protection. So at the same time as showing jet setting credentials, it was also possible to get 'free' sun protection at the same time....

Sadly we now know this is not the case.... It depends on your skin type. If you have dark skin (e.g. you have African heritage) then your skin will contain eumelanin, which is the best type of pigment for UV protection. On the other hand If you have fair skin, lying on the beach to earn that tan will create Pheomelanin. Pheomelanin is far less stable then Eumelanin and can even break down when exposed to UV rays generating free-radicals in the skin.

So instead of providing sun protection, Pheomelanin actively contributes to UV induced skin damage.

The moral of this story is - always wear sun protection to avoid damage to your skin and pre-mature skin aging.

There are many sun protection products out there which vary in effectiveness.

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