When we are about to sit at the beach or poolside many of us still have the dilemma: should we wear more sunscreen or should we get a tan. In 2020, it shouldn't even be a question in our minds. If we really understand what happens, then maybe some of use would more quickly lather SPF lotion all over our bodies.
The Tan Is Skin Damage
Tanning damages our skin, causing fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration. Worst of all, it increases our chances of developing skin cancers. Long term it will make our skin thicker and look leathery.
When our skin tans, it produces melanin to prevent further injury and burn. UVA rays cause the tan. They trigger cells called melanocytes to produce melanin. darkening or tanning our skin.
Darker skin people peel should also be careful in the sun. Their skin tans more deeply because their melanocytes produce more melanin. And just because a person’s skin does not burn, it does not mean that he or she is not susceptible to skin cancers.
Think A for Aging
UVA rays have a longer wavelength and penetrate deeper in the the skin. These rays penetrate our windows, car windshields and cloud cover. Tanning beds use fluorescent bulbs that emit mostly UVA.
The UVA rays damage our collagen and elastin fibers causing fine lines, wrinkles and a flatting of our skin. They can even damage our immune systems, making it harder for us to fight diseases like Melanoma, the most serious skin cancer.
Think B for Burning
UVB rays has a shorter wavelength and It damages the outermost layer of our skin causing tans, burns and blistering. Exposure to UVB rays can increase our risks of getting other types of cancer such as basal and squamous cell carcinoma.
When purchasing a sunscreen realize there are two different types of sunblocks: chemical and physical/mineral. Both work and it is really a personal preference.
Chemical Sun Block
Chemical blocks absorb the UV rays before they damage your skin. Some people prefer them because blend easily into the skin, but these are the ones that some of us say are irritating or cause our eyes to burn.
The chemicals will be listed as "actives" on the bottle or packaging and the ingredients will be one or a combination of the following: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate
Mineral or Physical Sun Block
Physical or mineral blocks form a barrier on our skin that reflect the sun rays. These tend to be less irritating, but will mostly likely leave a white film that is insoluble in water . Typically this film does not match any skin color, but it is especially not ideal for darker skin tones.
These "actives" are listed as zinc oxide or titanium oxide.
Broad Spectrum Block
We should always wear a “broad-specturm” block to protect us against UVA and UVB rays and follow these tips when spending time outdoors.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hour
- Reapply after swimming or sweating
- Wear a hat and sunglasses
- Sit under an umbrella
- Stay out of the sun during peak hours.
Self-tanners are a good option if you would like a bronze look. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is tanning active and when applied it temporarily darkens the skin making it look tan. DHA will sink into the dry patches of your skin so you want to make sure you exfoliate well before the application. A good glycolic peel will make sure you get a smooth, streak-free self-tanning application.