The Dark Side
Tanning: skin cells in trauma

Our skin keeps us healthy and protects our bodies from the outside world. But skin can be damaged. Melanocytes are skin cells that produce a pigment called melanin. When ultraviolet radiation (UVR) hits melanocytes they produce extra melanin, our body’s natural sunscreen.
A MELANOMA ONLY HAS TO BE 1MM DEEP TO GET IN YOUR BLOODSTREAM
The melanin moves towards the outer layers of the skin making it darken and look "tanned". This is a sign of our skin responding to UV damage and trying to protect itself from further UV damage.

Tanning under the sun or using a solarium can cause irreversible damage to skin cells. A tan therefore is not a healthy glow, but skin cells in trauma trying to protect themselves against damage that can start a melanoma growing. Sunburn can kill skin cells altogether.

The ability to tan varies between people; some burn or tan more easily than others. A tan can provide weak protection against sunburn, only about as much as an SPF3-5 sunscreen, depending on skin type, but a tan does not protect against skin damage.

Although a tan is visible, UVR also causes damage in the skin cells which can’t be seen. This damage adds up over time, and can lead to skin cancer, so it is important to minimise exposure to UVR.

Research has found that solarium use more than doubles the risk of melanoma.

There's nothing healthy about a tan.

Related links:
What is melanoma?
What is skin cancer?

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PROTECT YOUR SKIN IN FIVE WAYS
Whether you're
playing sport in
the sun or just
walking to the
local shop, some
simple measures
will help protect your skin
and prevent skin damage.

Click here to read more >
HOW DOES A TAN LEAD TO MELANOMA?
A tan is a sure
sign your skin cells have gone into damage control, protect-
ing themselves from the irreversible damage that can lead to melanoma.

Click here to read more >>
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