Can you tan through a window? The reason why tanning is just as bad as burning
Skin cancer: Doctor explains dangers of squamous cell carcinoma
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Suntans are glamorized as a “healthy colour” to your skin, but the process is simply your skin being darkened by the sun’s harmful UV rays. While your skin might appear to have a glow or you prefer your skin a darker shade, tanning can be very dangerous. Here’s why tanning and burning aren’t as different as you’d think.
Returning home from holiday with a noticeable sunburn is embarrassing, so why are we all so proud when our skin has gone brown rather than red?
A suntan is considered by many as healthy-looking whereas a burn is a known sign of UV exposure and skin damage, but the two are both terrible for your skin.
Express.co.uk reveals why the two aren’t so different at all and how to protect yourself from the sun.
Why tanning is just as bad as burning
There’s no such thing as a safe tan, so you don’t want to be tanning or burning.
When your skin tans it is down to the increase in melanin, a skin pigment that changes your skin colour.
Lots of melanin is produced as a reaction to sun exposure because your body is trying to protect itself from damage.
Whether you tan in a sunbed or outdoors in the sun, you are damaging your DNA and skin cells, speeding up signs of ageing and increasing your risk of skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
The damage can’t be undone – it is cumulative and starts from your very first suntan.
Not only are you risking your life, but you’re also accelerating the ageing process and will start to get wrinkles, dark spots and weathered skin younger.
Tanning doesn’t protect against sunburn, so don’t try and get a “base tan” using a sunbed before you go abroad or sit out in the UK sun.
Skincancer.org recommends avoiding tanning completely to protect against skin damage and opting for fake tan to provide a bronzed look instead.
You must protect against sunburn and tan every day by seeking the shade, wearing protective clothing, a hat and UV blocking sunglasses.
Can you tan through a window?
Yes, you can tan through a window. You don’t need to be outside to catch the sun.
Dermatologist at Urban Retreat Dr Luca Russo told Express.co.uk that you need to wear suncream whether you’re indoors or outdoors whenever the UV index is more than two.
He said: “UVA penetrates clouds and glass, so you must wear sunscreen if the UV index is above two, even if you are staying indoors all day.”
You can check the daily UV index for your area on the Met Office website here.
The doctor advises allowing direct sunlight exposure anywhere on your body except your face, decolletage and hands for 15 minutes a day between 10 am and 12 am.
The reason behind this is all to do with getting your daily dose of Vitamin D to keep your immune system, bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
At any other point of the day when the sun is out and the UV index is higher than two, you must be wearing sunscreen.
Dr Russo said: “The ideal level of SPF should be chosen according to your skin type for both face and body.
“As a general rule, children up to the age of 16, skin types one and two, and anyone with a family history of skin cancer should use an SPF 50+. Any other skin types should wear an SPF 30.”
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