During the summer months, basking in the glow of the sun becomes a national past time. Bronzed, or tanned skin comes from the sun activating a color pigment in the top layer of your skin, the color only lasts between six to 10 days. However, the long-term effects of your skins over exposure to the sun may cause longer lasting conditions, even if you have a darker skin pigmentation.
Myth: People with darker skin tones do not need to apply sunscreen because they are not as susceptible to getting sunburned.
Fact: Health experts suggest that no matter your skin tone, you should use sunscreen to prevent sunburn and sun-induced damage to your skin. People with darker skin tones may believe they do not need to apply sunscreen because they are not as susceptible to getting sunburned as quickly as those with a lighter skin tone, but they are still susceptible to the damage the sun can cause to their skin, such as sunspots and wrinkles and cancer.
To maintain the health of your skin after tanning you should:
- Exfoliate – The night before you are lying in the sun to ensure that your skin prepped for tanning, slough away dead skin cells with a gentle exfoliator. Dry skin can lead to peeling and, in some cases an uneven tan. It is easy to create your own body scrubs by combining a few heaping spoonsful of rock salt with essential oils or your regular olive oil from the kitchen.
- Protect – Wearing sunscreen is vital when exposed to the sun, not only to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but also if you want a long-lasting tan. Wearing sunscreen with a skin protection factor (SPF) of 30, will help protect against damaging your skin. Make sure to opt for a sunscreen with a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) and re-apply throughout the day.
- Hydrate – Water helps extend the life of your skin cells, so drink as much as possible. Melons, cucumbers, and celery are also high in water content and make the perfect skin-friendly snack this summer.
- Moisturize – In addition to drinking lots of water, it is also important to keep the peeling at bay with a daily dose of moisturizer.
While tanning, keep in mind that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Exposure to the sun, without the benefit of sunscreen increases the risk of melanoma.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.