Are you confused with Sun Tan versus Spray Tan controversy?

There seems to be a lot of debates lately about if sun is good for you or not. Some people say that we need to sun tan to produce vitamin D which our body needs and some others worn us about risks of skin cancer. Whom should we listen to?

Let’s forget about all the hype for a moment and think about it logically.Believe it or not, there is a really good reason why people have different skin colors. It all comes down to geography.

Originally, people who lived in cold climates where there is not much sun, evolved to have white skin, and people who lived closer to equator where sun is plentiful developed darker skin. Why is that so?

Human body cannot produce vitamin D. It needs to get it from outside resources. Nature, in its infinite wisdom designed us in such a way that people who have white skin absorb sun’s rays much quicker than people with dark skin. That means that white skinned people need to be in sunlight for a very short time to produce enough vitamin D to fulfill their body’s needs. With people that lived in the area where there was an oversupply of sunshine Nature did not have to enhance their vitamin D absorption mechanisms, but it had to protect them from too much exposure. So, dark skin was developed which has excellent protection qualities, but is lousy on vitamin D absorption. Consequently, dark skinned people have to spend considerably more time in full sunshine to fulfill their daily quote.

White people who spend a lot of time in the sun try to cheat nature into giving them something that they were not designed to have – a brown skin. Nature is very adaptable (otherwise there would be no evolution), so it tries to accommodate this “change of climate”, and lets us tan. But many people are not happy with light golden skin sometimes. They want to have dark brown skin all the time. Are you one of them?

If you persist, your body will do it’s best to adapt, but:a) there will be consequences (sun damage) and b) the point will come where it will start breaking down (skin cancer).

So, what does it mean when it comes to sunlight and our skin?The whiter you are the less time in the sun you need to get your vitamin D (10-20 minutes daily in the shade for very white skinned individuals). Do not try to cheat by using sun beds, because sun beds produce even stronger rays than sun, so cause more damage. Instead - work with your skin and if you want to be brown get a spray tan for goodness sake.And always, always wear a sunscreen.

If you have olive skin: 20-30 minutes in the sun every day is great (avoid times 10am and 2pm) and after that wear a sunscreen. You will probably go dark brown really quickly anyway to the envy of all your white friends.

If you are a lucky owner of already dark skin, you don’t have to worry much about all that “to sun, or not to sun” hype. Just be sensible. If you are planning to spend a long time in the sun, make sure you wear sunscreen, because even dark skinned people can get skin cancer. Your job however, is to make sure that you do spend a fair amount of your time outdoors (about 1 hour a day would do nicely) and if you don’t, it might be a good idea to take supplements.

So, the question of “to suntan or not to suntan” is not a difficult one after all. It all comes down to what skin color you have to start with.


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