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Understanding the difference between sunburn and sun tan

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 23, 2012
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • Exposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer.
  • To prevent skin cancers, it is very important to avoid burning.
  • Tanning can help to protect your skin from some of the sun’s damage.
  • In the case of sunburn, layers of your skin are damaged beyond repair.

More

Sunburn is a burnt living tissue predominantly the skin which has been exposed to ultra violet radiations for a longer time frame. Sunburn could also be caused by artificial sources of heat like welding machines. Sunburn is a skin reaction to a DNA damage whereas, a suntan, is the skin’s reaction to over exposure to sun and release of melanin to efface skin cancer. A westernized trend has transcended barriers where people deliberately tan their skin in a process termed as “sun bathing”.

Tan your skin, don’t burn it!

Tanning your skin through artificial means or outdoors has its own risks. There are some necessary precautions you ought to take before stepping out in the sun even if it’s for 30 minutes. This will help you tan your skin to your desired intensity without damaging skin cells. Consider these:


sunburn vs sun tan

  • There exists no such thing as safe tanning: Tanning always subjects you to over exposure to UV radiations damaging your skin to the extent that your suntan becomes sunburn.
  • Wear sunscreen: The sunscreen should be of a minimum SPF 15. Consider a higher SPF if you live in a geographical region which is over exposed to the sun. It can take 12 to 24 hours for you to realise that you have burnt your skin.
  • Use sunglasses: Put on your favourite pair of sunglasses, preferably with a broad lens so that it covers a major part of your eyes. Eyes are extremely sensitivity to heat at UV and you should make sure you don’t expose your sensitive eyes to the sun. With a kaleidoscope of sunglasses available in the market you can chose which one suits you the best and make you look stylish too.  It’s a win-win situation.
  • Dress accordingly: Overexposure will leave you tan lines and may even wrinkle your skin so be sure to select your clothing accordingly.
  • Moisturize your skin: Apply an Aloe Vera lotion or any moisturising lotion that suits your skin type to ensure your skin doesn’t dry out and there are no signs of discoloration and patchy zones on the skin.

 

The fact about skin cancer

Overexposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer, the result of which is that the skin ages faster, lines and wrinkles begin to appear, the DNA of the skin mutates and the immune system become weaker day by day. Research proves that skin cancer takes its visible form in people even after years of exposure especially during the 30’s. Tanning in moderation is advisable so that your skin soaks up the required Vitamin D, but make sure you don’t cross the line and suffer from skin cancer.



Image Source: Getty

Read more articles on Understand Sun-Damaged Skin

 

 

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    Though all possible measures have been taken to ensure accuracy, reliability, timeliness and authenticity of the information; Onlymyhealth assumes no liability for the same. Using any information of this website is at the viewers’ risk. Please be informed that we are not responsible for advice/tips given by any third party in form of comments on article pages . If you have or suspect having any medical condition, kindly contact your professional health care provider.
    Comments
    • Alka16 Jul 2013
      I always believed that suntan and sunburn are the same. After reading this piece, now I know the difference between the two.

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