Going to a beach, we see a number of visitors both men and women sitting lazily or relaxing on a lounger for hours in order to tan themselves. Today, tanning is in vogue and many are ready to go that extra mile to get that perfect skin tone that complements their personality. A sun bath for 10-15 minutes is definitely beneficial for health, as sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D. However, sitting in the sun for long periods of time is definitely not a good idea. It is discussed below:
Skin becoming dark is one of the most common side effects of tanning. This happens because too much exposure to sunlight (UV light) results in excessive production of melanin, a type of pigment present in the skin. The natural skin color is due to the presence of adequate melanin. However, with increase in melanin production, skin appears dark. No wonder, fair-skinned people tend to have less amount of melanin in their skin. More the melanin, darker will be the appearance of the skin. The UV radiation emitted by the sun has mainly 3 wavelengths, namely, UVA, UVB and UVC. Studies show that exposure to UVB is primarily responsible for darkening of the skin and formation of skin cancer.
Tanning Effects on Different Skin Types
It is a common knowledge that tanning or sun tanning changes skin color. However, if you think tanning darkens the skin, no matter what type of skin a person has, then you are wrong. Despite excessive exposure to UV rays everyday, a particular type of skin may never turn dark. Thus, the occurrence of skin darkening effect is said to be dependent on the type of skin.
Skin Type I
Those having skin type I must stay away from a prolonged exposure to the sun. People with this type of skin are extremely fair and genetically protected from tanning. Although this may sound good, they are susceptible to sunburn. So, the tanning effect on skin type I is visible in the form of the sunburn. This indicates that skin type I is highly sensitive to UV rays. So, even if the skin type I is protected from suntan, it is predisposed to sunburns, a condition in which the superficial layer of the skin appears excessively red.
Skin Type II
This type of skin may darken, but in most cases, sunburn is the likely outcome of standing in sun for long periods of time. Rarely, tanning occurs in people with Skin Type II. In any case, skin type II is vulnerable to sunburn and the chances of tanning are minimal. Moderate to long sun exposure can cause severe sunburns in people with skin type II. The sunrays can easily penetrate through skin type II, hence chances of getting sunburn increase dramatically.
Skin Type III
The difference between people with skin type III and those with type I and type II skin is the change in skin color. Although the skin type III is light in color, it appears slightly darker in comparison to skin type I and II. As far as tanning effect is concerned, the skin type III becomes dark easily, yet it is susceptible to sunburn when exposed to the sun for an extended duration of time. In other words, it is very easy to achieve tanning in type III skin. Some dermatologists say that a frequent sun bath can cause either sunburn or tanning and one cannot guarantee any outcome in skin type III.
Skin Type IV
People with Skin Type IV have higher chances of getting tan than sunburn. Although sunburn risk in skin type IV is not zero, it is too less as compared to skin type III. No wonder, people having skin type IV rarely experience sunburn but tan very easily. Skin type IV is light dark and seems to be well protected against sunburn.
Skin Type V
This type of skin is no different from type IV skin, the only noticeable difference is the skin tone. People with skin type V have brown skin, which is darker than those with skin type IV. However, the response of both types of skin when overexposed to the sun is similar. Skin type V tans very easily and is found to be relatively resistant to sunburn. In simple words, sunburn in people with skin type V is a rarity.
Skin Type VI
Dark skin color is the typical characteristic of people with skin type VI. They rarely experience sunburn, but may show uneven skin tone due to a prolonged sun exposure. It is found that dark-skinned people are able to tolerate exposure to UV rays, and hence probability of sunburn is minimal.
As aforementioned, a chronic exposure to UV rays of the sun can cause sunburn. When a person is affected with sunburn, it indicates that the DNA in skin cells is damaged. The onset of skin cancer, namely basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma has been linked to severe cases of sunburn. Thus, light-skinned people who are sensitive to sunburn must follow a proper skin care regimen. Skin type I and type II are more prone to damage and cancer due to the sun exposure for an extended duration of time. Sunscreen lotion having an SPF of 30+ are often recommended for people with these types of skin. Moving in the hot sun frequently without using a sun protective gear such as a hat or a sunscreen can be dangerous and alleviates the risk of skin cancer. Indoor tanning that makes use of sunbeds (devices that mimic the effects of ultraviolet radiation) are also found to be harmful to the skin. Cases of sunbeds causing melanoma (severe form of cancer) have also been reported. An increasing number of people are also experiencing bumps on skin after tanning.
Make sure that you use sunscreen only when necessary and not otherwise. Too much use of sunscreen can also be detrimental to your skin. Lastly, people with skin type IV, type V and type VI have slim chances of developing sunburn, but considering the small risk one should do the needful to keep the skin free from sun damage.