Updated April 2023
Do you see yourself with a healthy tan?
Have you noticed those words out there lately?
You do know there is no way to get a healthy tan, don’t you?
You can get a slight tan, a little tan, but if your skin is exposed to the sun long enough to change the color, you are doing damage. How do we get this through to our young people? All the famous people seem to be doing just what they want to about tanning.
How can it be that bad for you? Let’s give this some thought, OK?
Where Is Your Reality?
I know, it is January, and maybe getting a tan is not so much on your mind.
We see all these reports of the rich and famous. With their lifestyles, and seemingly carefree life of sun and more sun. Fortunately, we are coming to grips with the fact that what we see in reports of the rich and famous and realize that things are not always as they seem.
We are adults and know that a life of too much skin exposure to the sun can lead to some bad news for some of us. Especially if you are in a high-risk group.
Ads with apparently rich and famous people on cruises and advertising all kinds of attractive spas and places to spend time where the summertime seems to live. Yes, those are attractive to me too. Even with a lifetime of results of ignoring the protection of my skin.
These influencers have been doing their jobs well. Making us think that our plan ol everyday life would be more fun with a tan.
Do You Watch Wheel Of Fortune?
When I watch Wheel Of Fortune, yes I’ll admit to watching this “old people show.” Those prizes of trips to the islands, sure I can see myself sitting there in an old lady swimsuit, not the skimpy ones the models have on.
But for some reason, I don’t see me under an umbrella! I am in the direct sun! Check out your true feelings and see if you don’t agree that the mental pictures are there. We see little protection from the sun in those pictures.
I assume that’s why I was becoming a fan of the pictures from online sources selling sun blocking clothing. What was this “sun blocking clothing” I was seeing?
In all honesty, I was curious and wondered about what made the clothing protect us from the sun. There were so many questions.
Then as the answers came together, I found that I had been wearing sun blocking clothing forever. Let’s do a quick backward glance here.
Check out this post for the full information about sun blocking clothing. What Is Sun Blocking Clothing?
Sun Blocking Clothing
The more modest way we dressed in earlier times had an effect on protecting our skin. Anytime you have clothing that blocks the sun from your skin, that is sun blocking clothing.
Remember how your Grandparents had long sleeves and usually long pants? They usually wore some kind of head covering. This was protecting their skin.
Then we had the thicker Ozone layer.
When I was young, the Ozone was unknown to me. However, it was there protecting me. I was oblivious to what was happening. We could be out in the sun more, tan less, and not burn so quickly. (Note here, we would burn, it just took longer. )
Now with girls not wearing t-shirts over their swimsuits. Boys not wearing shirts either, we all are exposing our skin to the sun more often and for longer time periods.
With the public schools cutting funding for sports in the school programs, parents are trying to offer their kids sports opportunities.
For the younger kids, the practice sessions and game times often are scheduled during the more direct sun times of the day. The hours between 10 AM and 4 PM. They are out playing, and you are sitting watching. All in the direct sun times of the day.
My Healthy Tan Dream
As I realized how much I was allowing the world to manage my inner mind talk, I could not be surprised at young people in the sun.
Making me compare myself and the way I looked to how the professional models looked. With their air-brushed tans and filters that were used to get the perfect picture. Yes, I know that is not real in my conscious brain. I am not so sure in my unconscious brain!
So, how do we reach those who have not realized what is affecting their ideas about how they want to look? Reach them before further damage is done to their skin,? Before they began a life of trying to repair that damage?
Because I can’t go backward and reach most readers early in their life, I am choosing the first weeks of the new year. Months before summertime. Months before we need to worry about sunburn.
Can we turn any thinking around?
Then- as we were in the car to run an errand, I realized that my hands on the steering wheel were uncomfortably hot! The sun was shining through the window.
No matter how I held the steering wheel, I couldn’t get out of the direct sun. As our destination was 35 miles away, my hands were overexposed to the sun for 35 minutes! There was snow on the ground, yet I was getting too much sun on my hands!
I had taken the driving gloves out of the car for some reason, and not put them back! Lesson learned, But at a price that will produce many “age spots” on my old lady’s hands.
We become so habitual without realizing it. How can we help ourselves to change our habits? How can we prepare for skin protection and have it automatic? That is what I need. Automatic so I don’t have to think about it at all.
For some of you, looking for the answer to how to get a healthy tan, I think you understand by now that there is no healthy tan. We have grown to accept sun-damaged skin as something we want!
In my journey to learn about healthy tan, I realize that I have been sold a bill of goods.
A bill of goods by companies trying to make a dollar! I have been lazy about protecting my skin from sunburn. Have you? Are you in the habit of ignoring the need for sunscreen when you are outside in the sun, even if it is in the car between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM?
Are you allowing the habits you developed during the days when we still had an Ozone layer to help filter the sun to allow you to sunburn now?
Is A Health Tan Really Healthy?
We may look at a tan and think that it looks good and therefore is healthy. Most see tan as a sign of health and beauty. However, tans pose a significant danger to your skin and your overall health.
One of the dangers to the skin because of a tan is the increased exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation from the skin. A tan requires repeated exposure to the sun. This can damage the DNA of your skin cells themselves, leading to mutations that can increase the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Tanning, whether from natural sunlight or tanning beds, can also cause faster skin aging. UV radiation breaks down collagen and elastin, the proteins that provide structure and elasticity to the skin.
When this happens, tanning can cause premature wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, and dark spots on your skin, making it look older and less youthful.
Besides skin cancer and premature aging, tanned skin can also lead to other health issues.
Sunburns, which are common after excessive sun exposure, can cause pain, redness, swelling, and blistering, and may require medical attention.
Tanning can also be harmful for existing skin conditions, such as eczema. It can also cause hyperpigmentation, where certain areas of the skin become darker than the surrounding skin.
In conclusion, while tanned skin may be desired by some, it comes with significant dangers. UV radiation exposure from tanning can increase the risk of skin cancer, accelerate skin aging, and cause other skin-related health issues.
It is crucial to protect the skin from too much sun exposure. Cover your skin with protective clothing and sunscreen. Avoid tanning beds to maintain healthy and safe skin.
Sami’s Take on Healthy Tan
A tan can be especially dangerous for young kids as their delicate skin is not fully developed and is more susceptible to the harmful effects of UV radiation.
With thinner skin with less melanin, kids’ skin is not ready to be exposed. As a result, their skin is more vulnerable to sunburns and damage from the sun’s rays.
We now know that sun exposure during childhood can significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
Sunburns in early childhood are particularly concerning, as they can cause immediate damage to the DNA in skin cells. This leads to long-term genetic mutations that can raise the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, in adulthood.
Children who stay tan all summer or use tanning beds may also face a higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life due to accumulated UV radiation damage.
Apart from the risk of skin cancer, tanned skin can also cause other harmful effects on young kids’ skin.
Sunburns can be painful, and uncomfortable. Sunburn may require medical treatment.
Sunburn can also cause long-term damage to the skin, leading to premature aging, or wrinkles, or even dark spots, which can be particularly distressing for young children and their parents.
Additionally, kids with fair skin or a family history of skin cancer may be at an even higher risk and need to take extra precautions to protect their skin from tanning.
We must protect our kid’s skin. This includes ensuring that kids wear protective clothing, such as hats and long-sleeved shirts, and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF on exposed skin.
It is also important to limit their exposure time to direct sunlight during peak UV radiation hours and seek shade.
Teaching your kids about the importance of sun protection from an early age, by helping them learn healthy sun-safe habits.