Could tanning be good for you?

Hello, Dr. Irwin! (or representative)I was just reading the Lierac blog and it said this... Regular and reasonable exposure to the sun will also help your skin build up a natural resistance to the harmful effects of ultraviolet light – the lighter and less exposed to sunlight your skin is, the more sensitive it will be to sunburn and more serious skin damage. It seems they are basically saying a 'base tan' is a good idea (and that it actually exists). Is this true? Thank you in advance!

Thank you for asking this and just to clarify –  I personally write all the content and all the answers on this site.

Tanning is just skin injury in that it is your skin’s protective mechanism to deal with harmful UV rays.  It is why, if you look at the worldwide distribution of skin color, people in sunny climates for tens of thousands of years, evolved to have darker skin.  Otherwise they would have died out as a race or ethnic group.   Individuals who have genetic mutations called albinos (absolutely no skin pigment) used to die of skin cancer young in those climates due to the absence of melanin (the brown color in our skin).

Now we have sunscreen but tanning is still skin injury.  If you are a light skinned person now living in a sunny climate (a relatively recent problem in the last 500 years), your skin will be healthier, in general, if you don’t tan.  Take your Vitamin D though but discuss the dose with your doctor!  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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