Question: Reader Q&A – I Don’t Believe You When You Say Tan Skin Is Skin Damage

“Just to let you know… getting sun exposure or a tan is not skin damage. By telling people this, you’re misleading them! A Suntan is a natural body function and a result of the Vitamin D production process in the skin. I don’t expect you to change your philosophy since you have been programmed to sell cosmetics, but at least you should get better informed about what you are writing before you publish it to the general public! Do Some research rather than just publishing your personal opinion.

Tan Skin Is Skin Damage
Young woman pulling down bikini bottom to reveal tan line, close-up – Jonathan Storey/Stone/Getty Images

Sun Tan = GOOD for you:)

Sun Burn = BAD for you:(

From a Reader Named Mathew


Hi Mathew,

Thanks for the email. I appreciate the time it took you to write it.

Tan skin is an ever-popular debate. I tend to stick with the side of caution, and I’m definitely not the only one. I’ll give you some examples from highly qualified dermatologists if you’d like. Then, I’m sure you could give me examples of qualified dermatologists as well.

Here’s just the first one I found, quoting Sharon Miller, A U.S: Food and Drug Administration Scientist“A tan is the skin’s reaction to exposure to UV rays,” Miller says in a statement. “Recognizing exposure to the rays as an ‘insult,’ the skin acts in self-defense by producing more melanin, a pigment that darkens the skin. Over time, this damage will lead to prematurely aged skin and, in some cases, skin cancer.”

The fact is that tan skin is brought on by UV rays, via the sun or by tanning beds. Tanning will make your skin age faster, creating sun spots and wrinkles. And yes, skin cancer is potential. Most people who go to tanning beds don’t go to get burned, but to get tan, and most do! And the stats when it comes to tanning beds and cancer, especially for teens, are overwhelming.

But yes, some people, depending on their skin classification, develop tan skin naturally. Skin cancer isn’t as high of a risk for them, but it is not completely absent, either.

And yes, Vitamin D comes from the sun. (And other dietary sources.) And everyone needs Vitamin D — deficiency can cause major medical issues. Getting 15 minutes of direct sun without sunscreen will give you all of the Vitamin D your body needs for the day. Did you know your sunscreen takes a good 20 to be effective? You can put it on, go outside and still get the daily vitamin D. Plus, adding in all of the little times one is out in the sun for things like getting the mail or running errands in and out of the car, I am guessing the average person is getting the Vitamin D they need. If you don’t think so, spend some time outdoors before 10 am and after 4 pm when the risk for the burn is lower. Still concerned? Try a supplement.

As for me and my skin, I’ll stick with caution. And for my readers, I’m not going to suggest they all go looking for a tan, and skip the burn, because that’s what most people try to do anyway. I’ve recently spoken with two young people who went searching for a tan, only to wind up (Both!) with stage 3 melanoma. Articles on them to come. And a neighbor of mine just had a large scoop of her back taken out due to tanning. Yes, it was melanoma.

Again, as I mentioned, you’ll find info to support your thoughts, too! 🙂 In the end, it’s completely up to each individual and their thoughts on your skin and the sun. If I can make a person think twice about hitting a tanning bed or laying out all afternoon in the sun, I’m happy to do so.

Oh, and for the record, Skin Care has never sold products — We review them.


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