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Tanned skin is not a sign for skin damage

03-31-2011 09:10 AM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: Sunlight Research Forum (SRF)

/ PR Agency: Thomas Schröter, Public Relations & European Affairs
Spring has arrived and with it sunny days, enticing us outdoors and inviting us to sunbathe. Feeling uncertain as a result of advice, which mostly encourages them to avoid spending time outdoors, many people wonder: "Is a sun tan a sign of skin damage?” The answer, according to Ad Brand from the Sunlight Research Forum (SRF), is “No”, in fact the human body uses skin pigmentation in order to avoid overexposure to the sun’s rays. Similar to sweating, which is the body’s way of compensating for high temperatures by preventing the body temperature from rising excessively, tanning is the body's protective mechanism.”
Because, Brand continued, on the one hand, the human body needs to be exposed to sunlight in order to ensure a sufficient supply of vitamin D, the production of which is stimulated by ultraviolet radiation, with 90 percent of it being produced in the skin. However, on the other hand, it is true that overexposure to sunlight causes sunburn, which does damage the skin and can lead to skin cancer. In the middle latitudes the “tanning” mechanism actually serves the purpose of helping the skin to adapt to the differing intensity of solar radiation, which varies according to season or location. “Therefore, a sun tan is undoubtedly an indication of health,” says Ad Brand emphasising that, "completely avoiding all exposure to sunlight is as nonsensical as spending excessive amounts of time tanning. It is much more advisable to spend a moderate amount of time in the sun in order to benefit from the essential positive health effects it provides us with and to avoid the risk of disease.”

Sunlight Research Forum (SRF)
P.O. Box: 71
5500 AB Veldhoven,
The Netherlands
Tel.: +31(0)651 358 180
Fax: +31 (0)40 205 1967

Media contct:
Ad Brand
Sunlight Research Forum (SRF)
P.O. Box: 71
5500 AB Veldhoven,
The Netherlands
Phone: +31(0)651 358 180

The Sunlight Research Forum (SRF) is a not-for-profit organisation based in The Netherlands. SRF’s aim is to help bring to the fore, the latest medical and scientific information on the effects of moderate UV exposure on man. It takes time, often decades, for new scientific ideas to be accepted and assimilated, first into the general body of scientific knowledge and finally into policy. We want to reduce this time to a minimum so that the benefits of research can lead to a better understanding of UV effects on man and will become available to the public without any unnecessary delay. We hope to provide policy makers with correct information on which to base national health policy and individuals with better information on which to base choices about their lifestyles.

New research and well founded ideas on moderate UV exposure both indoor and outdoor will be presented and discussed in the Sunlight Research Forum by people working in the health disciplines, by academics and by journalists.

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