Bronzed beauty in winter? To tan (or not)

Winter can be a perfect time to give winter bronze a go, but take some tips from the professionals.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun and I say it’s alright”. Um, but unfortunately it’s not always alright. It seems like only yesterday you were relaxing in the sunny beaches but now the cold has set in and your summer glow has faded.

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While a deep tan looks unnatural during winter, getting your summer glow on can be tricky territory when it comes to sunbed lamps. Although there’s no reason you can’t continue rocking a subtle sun kissed glow, the good and devil are the two sides of UV.

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Our skin color is tanned by ultraviolet radiation (UV). UV can come from sunlight or from a tanning lamp; it doesn’t matter, the effects on our body are the same.

During winter, is easier to get yourself into a sunbed lamp, but how many of the people who queued up to lie on sunbeds in the past 30 years are now paying a high price fighting skin cancer, or studying moles that are changing shape and growing bigger? People believe that any health problems are thought to be so far in the future that they are disregarded. So, here’s the question: to tan or not to tan.

More than a century ago, porcelain-white skin was the sign of a well-born lady, who also carried a parasol to safeguard her pale complexion from the sun.

vintagebikini90sbeachIn the twenties, the wealthy began to holiday on the Riviera and made it beautiful to be tanned. A suntan became a symbol of wealth.

With the advent of cheap package holidays in the sixties, everyone could have a tan, and with the glowing sun-kissed skin came the illusion that we were all wealthy, healthy and successful.

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Since then, it became fashionable for the masses and we’ve been roasting in the sun to achieve the deepest bronze possible: two weeks in the summer sun wasn’t enough, which is why the sunbed became a mecca for the tan-obsessed. But be careful.

Small amounts of UV radiation are essential to synthetize vitamin D by our body, which is good. Vitamin D –through its active metabolite calcitriol- has the important role of regulate the development and maintenance of our bone health. Therefore, vitamin D prevents rickets, osteoporosis and bone fracture. Small amounts of UV are also good to treat some diseases, like psoriasis or eczema.

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The devil side of UV exposure ages our skin and affects our eyes and immune system. Our body can get rid of the effects of UV radiation but only to certain point. When the radiation comes in excess produces the so call reactive oxygen species that cause DNA damage. The consequences are premature skin aging, actinic keratosis or even melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Long-term exposure can provoke inflammatory reactions of our eyes and cataracts.

If you have a dark skin you have more melanin pigment, meaning an extra protection compared with fair-skinned people. But be aware, skin cancers do occur in both groups of people.

The intensity of the UV light emitted by sunbeds is so strong that a 20-minute session is equivalent to spending an entire day on the beach. Outdoors activities are great but remember to protect from UV radiation even when is cloudy. Wear sunglasses, hats or caps, and sun creams UV radiation. Remember that what’s fashionable is being healthy.