To Tan or not to Tan

To Tan or not to TanSo I have not exactly been blessed with a perfectly olive flawless looking skin and over the past 10 years or so, to be in you have got to be tanned. So needless to say I have tried everything from sun beds to tan amplifiers but eventually ended up slapping on the fake stuff over the guilt trip of the suggested dangers of the UV.

But the question kept niggling away at me is it really that damaging? This prompted me to do a little research. After a recent holiday I returned with a wonderful Greek god like tan, I had not lain out for hours on end, had not burnt and felt wonderful! Whether it was the comments from friends and about how 'well' I looked or the actual effects of the holiday I'm not sure ,but I know I never want to let go of this golden sprinkling again!

So let's look at the facts, the recommendation is to not tan at all, it not only causes premature aging of the skin but also causes skin cancer, or does it? Is it a little excessive to say never ever sunbath?

It is a fact that UVA causes aging of the skin but it is the UVB rays which cause the skin to burn and this is the major factor in the cause of skin cancer. Both UVA and UVB are from the suns natural rays but interestingly UVB is not found in sun bed rays, so could this mean we can tan till we look like Dale Winton on a sun bed but not outside? I think not, it is said that over time the effects of UVA can be just as damaging.

Many argue that a tan has actual health benefits, in a sense this is true. The sun's rays help your body to produce Vitamin D and can actually have a beneficial effect on certain skin disorders like acne and psoriasis. Alongside this there are all of the psychological benefits. It makes your skin look flawless, hide's cellulite, and always make you look like a couple of pounds have been lost. Ok, so I am now sounding like a real advocate of tanning! So why do I feel so guilty whenever I try and tan?

Maybe it's because my body is telling me! I don't find it easy to tan, it's hard work as I'm sure most of you fair ladies are aware. If you have light eyes, fair hair and pale skin you have more chance getting the dreaded C word. The fact is that the darker you are the more melanin you have which creates a tan to protect your body, the fairer you are the less the skin can cope therefore it burns.

So is there any truth in the story that if you go on the sun bed and gain a gradual tan before a sunny holiday your risks are less? There may be some truth in this, if the skin has already started to produce more melanin for protection there is a lesser risk on burning therefore a lower risk of skin cancer.

But there is still the point of tanning queens skin aging dramatically faster than non users, unfortunately there ain't no denying this one, UVA the skin aging ray is found in both the natural light and the sun bed so in short, yes it will age you.

But why do we still feel the need to tan when the self tanning market is wider than it has ever been? The products are becoming better, lasting longer and becoming cheaper and I actually think creating better results than many of the jet lagged specimens I have seen in arrivals!

So, my conclusion? I would have to compare it to that gorgeous piece of cheesecake or cheeky glass of wine, everything in moderation!

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