Reasons to skip your next tanning session

With the warm weather coming, it can be tempting to lie out in the sun and work on your bronze glow. But doing so can have negative effects. Whether you choose to tan or not is a decision only you can make, but it is wise to consider some of the dangers of sun exposure before you spend too long basking in the sun’s rays.

Woman with tan

It isn’t the best way to get your vitamin D

You have likely heard that sun exposure is the only way to get an adequate amount of vitamin D. In actuality, the amount of sunlight we experience in Canada is not enough to supply our bodies with as much vitamin D as we require. Our cold winters and general distance from the sun mean that no amount of strutting around outdoors is going to do the job. If you are concerned about whether you’re getting an adequate amount of vitamin D, head to your local health store for an appropriate supplement. In addition, though the vitamin D from the sun’s rays doesn’t penetrate clothing, it does penetrate through sunscreen. So, wanting to get your vitamins outdoors doesn’t mean you have to forgo the safety benefits of a strong SPF.

There is a direct correlation between sunburns and skin cancer

When you spend time in the sun, you are pelted with UV rays. These rays cause damage to your skin cells that your body then attempts to repair. When this repair process doesn’t go as perfectly as planned, dangerous mutations can occur. The more damage the sun does to your skin, the more often repair has to take place and the greater chance there is that something will go wrong and mutated skin cells will take root. Frequent sun exposure can even permanently damage the repair mechanisms themselves. Your best defence against serious skin cancers is to minimize your sun exposure whenever possible.

Tanning can cause premature aging

Collagen is a protein that plays an important role in providing skin and other body tissues with firmness and strength. Repeated exposure to UV rays breaks down existing collagen and hinders the creation of new collagen. This process is called photo-aging, and it can lead to rough, loose, leathery skin, fine lines and wrinkles. A bronze complexion may seem like a desirable result, but the damage it can do in the long run is worth avoiding. Keep sun spots, freckles and spider veins at bay for a little longer by staying out of the sun.

It is hard to wear as much sunscreen as is needed

Although the majority of people understand the importance of sunscreen, incorrect application is incredibly common. Though you may think you’ve have applied enough SPF and can safely frolick in the sun’s rays, that may not be entirely true. Ensure you apply sunscreen liberally enough that it forms a film on your skin, and repeat this process every two hours or less. It should also be reapplied immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. In addition, wearing sunscreen on a daily basis — particularly on the face and neck — is also wise. The sun may seem far away in the winter months, but the risk of overexposure simply isn’t worth it. So keep it safe and lather on the sunscreen!

more on sun exposure

Are you sun smart?
Planning a beach getaway
Beach day essentials

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