Should you get a base tan before you head off to your beach holiday?
Rumour has it that a base tan can prevent sunburns. Plus, you’ll arrive at the beach looking like a bronzed goddess already. What could go wrong?
EVERYTHING. The base tan myth is just a myth. Far from protecting you from sunburns, a base tan increases your chances of cancer. Here’s why:
Can A Base Tan Protect you From Sunburns?
Every myth has a grain of truth. In this case, it’s indeed true that a base tan provides some sun protection. As much as a sunscreen with SPF 3-5!
That’s like, nothing. You may just as well not have bothered. If you want to increase your sun protection, this ain’t the way to go about it.
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The Truth About A Base Tan
Thank that bronzed, tanned skin is healthy? Think again.
Truth bomb: there is no such thing as a safe tan.
It doesn’t matter if you get your tan from lying on the beach or in a tanning bed. A tan is your body’s self-defence mechanism against UV rays.
When UV rays hit your skin, they damage the DNA in your skin cells. These cells then signal your body to produce melanin as protection from the harmful effects of UV rays.
But that’s not an excuse to stay in the sun. Just because your body is upping its defences, it doesn’t mean you should keep damaging it!
Quite the opposite, my smart friend. By the time your body’s reacting with a tan, the damage’s already’s done.
Put another way, a tan is always a sign of damaged skin. If you see your skin getting darker, get out of the sun, pronto. And top up your sunscreen while you’re at it.
P.S. Right now you may only see a beautiful tan, but all that damage WILL show up in the form of wrinkles and dark spots in a few years’ time. It may increase your chances of developing cancer, too Don’t risk it!
Related: A Tan Isn’t Worth Dying For
How Can You Enjoy The Sun Safely?
Don’t fret. You don’t have to spend the summer hidden indoors to protect yourself from sun damage. Phew!
You just need to take the appropriate precautions:
- Use a brod-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. SPF 15 may be the minimum recommended by dermatologists, but in summer, it doesn’t hurt to use something more powerful. The higher the SPF, the better protected you are.
- Apply sunscreen generously before leaving the house, and then every 2 hours. Sunscreen doesn’t last forever. As it neutralises UV rays, it gets used up. Not to mention, all the sweating, swimming and towel drying can rub it off your skin easily. Apply a generous amount (1/4 of a teaspoon for the face and a small glass shot for the body) and touch it up frequently.
- Wear sun-protective clothes like broad-brimmed hats, UV-blocking sunglasses, and tightly woven, dark- or bright-colored clothes. You may feel weird at first, but trust me, you’ll age better than all your friends.
- Seek the shade between 10am and 4pm. That’s when the sun is strongest and does the most damage to your skin. Don’t let it happen!
The Bottom Line
There is no such thing as a safe, healthy tan. A tan is ALWAYS a sign that your skin is damaged. Avoid tanning beds and pile on the sunscreen.
Did you fall for the base tan myth? Share your thoughts in the comments below.