Is tanned skin healthy?

Healthy or unhealthy tan?

Soaking up the sun is good for the mind. In addition, UV light stimulates the formation of vitamin D and strengthens the immune system. The downside: UV radiation damages the skin. The skin ages faster, becomes wrinkled and loses its elasticity.

At some point the body can no longer repair the damage. The result is skin cancer. The 270,000 new skin cancer cases in Germany are largely due to sunbathing. Many cases of skin cancer could therefore be avoided with suitable sun protection.

In the sun, the risks seem far away

"When the sun is shining so beautifully, people forget about the risks," says PD Dr. Hans-Joachim Schulze, Head of the Skin Tumor Center in Münster. Since skin cancer only shows up after years, the danger is mentally far away. "75 percent of skin tumors can be avoided if there was no sunburn before the age of 20," says Schulze.

That is why parents in particular should set a good example and take sun protection seriously for themselves as well as for their offspring. So: Do ​​not go into the blazing sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., wear a sun hat and long clothes and of course apply plenty of sunscreen with a high sun protection factor of at least SPF 30, 30 minutes before sun exposure. Don't forget sun terraces like ears, nose, shoulders, neck and back of the feet when applying lotion.

Suntan indicates damage

Despite the risk of skin cancer, the accelerated aging of the skin and the unsightly pigment spots that the sun leaves on our skin: in many circles, a tan is still considered trendy. And with a little complexion, you actually look a lot healthier. For a long time, vacationers were advised to tan gently so that the skin can get used to the sun. Is a tan really that unhealthy?

It is correct: a tan itself offers a certain amount of protection to ward off UV rays. However, the tan is an alarm signal that the skin has already been injured by harmful UV radiation. "The skin reacts with the brown pigmentation in order to be better protected against further UV exposure," explains dermatologist Schulze. "It's like when the alarm siren only goes off when the thief is in the house."

Enjoy the sun in a healthy way

In any case, it is important to avoid intense sun exposure with the resulting strong tan, according to the skin cancer expert. On the other hand, enjoying the sun “healthy” is allowed: Dr. Hans-Joachim Schulze: “Like a piece of chocolate, the sun is also an asset. For example, it supplies vitamin D and is also valuable for our psyche. ”So the sun is also healthy when enjoyed in moderation. Heavy tan, however, indicates an unhealthy level of UV light.

Photo: pixabay

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