Most people like to get tanned. It makes us feel good and we prefer the way we look. But have you ever wondered why exposure to the sun causes our skin to change to a darker tone? Tanning is nothing more than a defense mechanism against ultraviolet rays to protect our skin.
The Sun gives off three types of light: the visible light, which is the one that allows us to see; Infrared light, which gives us heat; and ultraviolet light, causes us to tan and the gives us vitamin D, which is why we need to be in the sun, but in moderation.
At the same time, ultraviolets are formed by two types of rays: UVA and UVB. It is specifically against the UVA rays that we should defend our skin, as these are responsible for skin aging. On the other hand, UVB has a cumulative effect, which can cause burns, even skin cancer in the long term.
Melanin is responsible for tanning our skin. It is a dark pigment made by the skin for its own defense, not to be damaged by the negative effects of the Sun. This photoprotector absorbs harmful solar radiation and transforms it into energy as heat. The creation of melanin has the immediate consequence of the color change of our external appearance. Being a protection, it is important to know that extra protection is needed when we expose ourselves to the Sun, either in the form of a cream or supplement.
Depending on your skin type and color, you have more or less melanocytes (cells that produce and contain melanin). The skin with phototype 0, will be the most sensitive (albino skins), since they are less accustomed to the Sun and can be damaged easily; If we get to phototype 4, we will be talking about skin that tans in the normal way; The phototype 6, is already a very brown skin that tans quickly and with less risk of damages. So, the more melanocytes a skin has, the darker it is.
The sun’s rays provide us with health benefits as long as we are dealing with controlled exposures. You must take the following into account:
- The first days of high exposure, sunbathe very carefully.
- Always use sunscreen according to the type of skin and apply it during the time you are exposed.
- Limit the time.
- Avoid the hours of maximum heat.
- Take extra care of children and elderly.
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