There’s No Such Thing As A Healthy Tan

There’s No Such Thing As A Healthy Tan

Public service announcement: tanning is a sign of skin cell DNA damage. Yep, sorry (not sorry) to inform you that tanning officially damages your skin at the very deepest level. Why does that matter? Well, it’s that damage that causes everything we tend not to like about our skin… lines, uneven skin tone, large pores, and even skin sagging. For many years, tanned skin has been considered by many as ‘healthy’ skin and therefore changing your perception of a tan is difficult – but we’re up for the task! While there’s no denying that sunshine can have a positive effect on our mood, it is detrimental to our skin. Once you understand exactly HOW the sun destroys skin quality, you, like us, will come to take healthy sun habits, such as shade-bathing, more seriously – get ready for your best hat collection ever.

Why does my skin seem to love the sun?

Plenty of people report that being in the sun actively makes their skin look and feel better, with blemishes clearing up and skin looking more even. It’s seemingly natural to say “I just need a bit of sun” when skin looks a bit dull. What’s that all about? Well, as the all-powerful sun attacks, the skin goes into high-crisis mode; water is forced out and there’s inflammation at a cellular level – all of which means the skin is forced into repair mode. The outcome of that repair is that blemishes quickly clear up, BUT the damage that’s being done to the cells AT THE SAME TIME accelerates acne scarring, lines, wrinkles, and discolouration... it's like taking 1 step forward and 4 steps back! Temporarily, the skin will look better, but long term it will look much worse. Have you ever thought, “I don’t need makeup when I’m on holiday because my skin is amazing and so healthy”?? Guilty as charged! When you have a suntan, your skin tone appears more even because the increased melanin (pigment) is spread throughout the entire area. This evens out the colour, making any darkened or discoloured spots less noticeable. When autumn arrives and the tan fades, skin is left looking more uneven as the damaged areas struggle to repair themselves. Home-from-holiday skin is discoloured, dry and wrinkly, the tan has damaged the skin rather than helping it to become healthier.

Can’t trauma be good for the skin?

You might have heard that trauma can lead skin to naturally repair itself and therefore get stronger, and yes this can be true when it comes to controlled in-clinic treatments. In fact, the premise of most in-clinic treatments is controlled trauma. For example, a chemical peel causes a chemical wound, while micro needling causes a physical wound, forcing the skin to respond with the appropriate healing to get results. What is key here though, is that in-clinic treatments are always performed by a professional practitioner who knows how to persuade the skin by causing only the right amount of inflammation, so the body responds to get the results you want. Practitioners also work very hard to maintain the skin barrier at all times and provide strict pre and post-care routines. When you go into the sun there’s no positive or controlled trauma… it’s all just inflammation and damage. A tan represents skin trauma - all of a sudden it doesn’t look so “oh la la”.

How to Futureproof your skin

Now you know that there’s no such thing as a healthy tan there are steps you can take to keep your skin protected and looking healthier, long-term. First up is sunscreen. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, and again and again… broad-spectrum sunscreen is a non-negotiable daily staple. Our broad-spectrum sunscreens are all mineral, a.k.a. physical, meaning that they largely reflect and scatter the sun’s rays away from the skin, helping to prevent the sun from causing damage. These sunscreens have antioxidants to naturally protect the skin, and they feel light and comfortable. You can choose from clear or tinted versions, and you don’t need a different formula on holiday - our sunscreens are ideal for hot climates. Reapplication every two hours is pretty easy at the beach, but say you’re at lunch with a full face of makeup on? Luckily, we’ve got a blog that tells you everything – How to Actually Reapply Sunscreen.

As for lifestyle, staying in the shade when you can and stocking up on cool sunglasses and stylishly functional hats will help your skin stay on track this summer and every summer from now on! There’s always fake tan, because – repeat after us – there’s no such thing as a healthy tan!

Back to blog