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Sunburn: What you need to know.

June 23, 2017

Sunburn: What you need to know.

With temperatures rising rapidly in London, and across the rest of the UK, it's time to reveal more skin and head to the park and catch some much needed Vitamin D. Our sights are set on summer days spent outside, Pimms in hand, but it’s important to know the facts about what’s happening to your skin as you expose it to the Suns' rays.

It's well known that everyone should be wearing Sunscreen (ideally Min SPF30) and limit your exposure as much as possible, by getting some shade at peak times. But, did you know what really happens to your skin when you get a tan?  Or even what goes on when you sunburn?


No matter how much we try to convince ourselves, there really is no safe and healthy way to get a tan. It only takes seconds of skin being in direct sun exposure to produce melanin (suntan). The typical response to this is positive, is it not? I mean a tan helps provide a young, healthy glow, right? However, over exposure is known to cause the complete opposite.

Anything from wrinkles, changes to the skin's texture (think: leathery), age spots, sagging or worst of all the risk of Skin Cancer. We hate to be the 'Bad Guy' but there really is no such thing as a 'safe tan'. It's all the same thing: damage. This damage fast-tracks the skin's ageing processputting you at risk of all of the above problems. If you really want to look like a Bronzed Goddess, head straight for the Fake Tan! There are so many great options available now, why take the risk?

What exactly is Sunburn?
The first sign of damage is redness, something we've all experienced at some point. One too many cocktails on holiday, you fall asleep in the sun and hey presto you're sporting unfortunate red patches half way down your leg for the rest of the week. It might make for a hilarious holiday memory, but the unfortunate reality is that redness is a marker of UV damage. Around eight to 12 hours after exposure is when the skin reaches peak redness. It's simply an inflammation marker and the body warning you of potential damage. 


But going brown is safe, right?
How many times have you heard someone tell you that you will just go brown after burning? Well, you MAY, but the skin will ultimately be damaged, seriously dehydrated, and you may even feel it tighten up. Skin cells start to get thicker and produce melanin, which is what we see as a tan. This is the body attempting to stop the UV rays from penetrating through to the deeper layers and damaging your skin cells. The body is efficient at coping with minimal amounts of damage, but if exposure is too high, it can cause serious long-term problems.



Shockingly, a survey of 364 UK residents by the British Skin Foundation found that a whopping  85% of people admitted to having been sunburnt three or more times in their lifetime. Research has shown that having five or more bad burns can cause serious cellular damage. 10% people asked in the survey also admitted that they didn't wear an SPF higher than 30 when abroad (the recommended base level SPF), and a fifth of people neglected to reapply sunscreen at regular intervals or after they had been swimming.
Getting a tan isn't the be all and end all. Keeping your skin healthy, and most importantly safe is so much more important. So this summer, grab a bottle of fake tan, an SPF 30+ and make the most of the weather!


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