Tanning your hide

When I was a teenager back in grey old England hopping on a sunbed to ‘prepare’ yourself for your two weeks on the Costa Brava was THE thing to do.  Go to any health club, council run gymnasium or spa and for around five of your English pounds you could get your hide tanned!   In fact, they became so popular that we even had one at home and I remember my friends queuing up at lunch time to have a few minutes of tanning time (I lived next door to the high school). Nice!  BUT it is looking increasingly un-nice as study after study find out what we all suspected, sunbeds are killing us. I stopped using one over 15 years ago in my case, the damage may already be done…….

Sun beds or solarium use powerful ultraviolet lights to simulate the suns rays and while the ones that I used back in the early 1990’s took around 30 minutes to give you a tanning dose,  modern machines can tan you in as little as 6 minutes which shows just how powerful they have become.  The main problem with solarium tanning from a scientific perspective is that the mix of UVA and UVB is not always ‘natural’  – they typically dish out more UVA than regular old sun (the tan without burning scenario) and this can cause problems. UVA light penetrates much deeper into the skin than UVB and has the potential to damage the skin from within. At the very least it is one of the main causes of premature ageing!  But going back to the mix of light used, our skin has adapted to life on this planet and as such ‘tells’ us when we have […]

Come Outside

Why is it that we now seem to see the sun as something dangerous? Is it something to be feared and avoided at all costs? Will age you, give you cancer and cause your immune system to go into free-fall? A quick look through the blog posts coming out of the northern hemisphere would lead you to thinking that we are waging a war against the sun. I wanted to find out how something once revered is now vilified. Care to come outside?

The sun is massive its diameter is about 218 times larger than the earth and with temperatures on the surface reaching 6000C it is hot. Consisting mainly of hydrogen (73%) Helium (25%) it is actually a burning ball of gas that is constantly moving, reacting and radiating heat. The charged plasma surrounds the sun like a massive magnetic force field, occasionally spewing out as solar flares towards the earth. We see this as the beautiful and spectacular northern and southern lights.
The earth takes receives almost all of its energy from the sun and without it, life would not exist. Out of the 386 billion billion megawatts of energy that the sun produces, around 89000 terawatts reach the earth – a terawatt is one trillion watts (1012) (Universe Today)

The sun gave us life and the sun sustains life on this planet so, why do we need sunscreen?

Our fear of the sun is not totally irrational. Excessive sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, indeed 85% of melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma’s cite the sun as a major trigger. In addition to our health, there are the effects that the sun has on our looks. A quick look at the ingredient […]