It is not often that I go ‘sun baking’ due to the fact that my transparent whiteness is actually quite scary when nearly naked and even more scary (and painful) when burned.  But having kids and being someone who wants to at least TRY to enjoy summer type activities I do, on occasions get my kit off and last week was no exception as you see here:

Amanda Hand Standing

Sensing that a moment of almost nakedness creeping up on me I whip out my invisible shield of factor highest-I-can-get-my-hands-on and rub it in. Yes I make sure that I rub it in lightly to get the maximum SPF coverage and yes I also wait the required 20 minutes to give it time to get working….

Then I go outside and play.

Sometime later (not too long as being a nerdy calculator type of person I know that my great whiteness has an absolute max of 4 hours total sun time a day with factor 50 and more sensibly 2 ‘good hours’ of beach time before I start to burn)  I go inside to assess the damage and…….. low and behold my fat butt burned.

As much as I love sharing all of my embarrassing life with you I will not be posting a picture of that. Instead I will describe my little issue in words and let you draw the mental picture if you so wish.

I always, always burn in a half moon-ish shape following the line of my swimming bottoms on the fleshiest (and fattest) part of my thigh – I think they call them ‘saddle bags’ but being allergic to horses I prefer to think of them as ‘side impact bags’.   The burning isn’t severe but it is notable not least because it happens every time in spite of my careful actions of self-preservation.

So, I wondered if there is any scientific explanation to all of this?

My hypothesis to ponder on, research and try to prove is this:

“Skin covering areas rich in excess flubber burns quicker than skin covering toned, lower fat muscle areas given the same UV exposure”.

As stated in the question I am only interested in skin that could be either slightly flabby or toned (stomach, thighs and possibly knees or backs of arms) than places like cheek bones, ears and feet which rarely carry fat.

I am not yet exactly sure how  I am going to set about investigating this, well I do know HOW I could do it but will have to work out what’s do-able in terms of  budget, time frame and resources. Maybe I could crowd source finance this or maybe I could get a weight loss company to sponsor it so that they could say ‘hey you crazy people, loosing weight helps to LOWER your risk of skin cancer ’cause you know what? Fit skin don’t burn’.  In my dreams oh and only if the results match my hypothesis, I mean how silly would that weight loss company feel if I was wrong and that carrying a little extra fat protected you from the sun.  Oh no, this could get messy!

Anyway, I will stop waffling and start doing. I am sure that there is something in the burn/fat ratio but can’t yet prove it beyond my own anecdotal evidence of red butt-itis.

Weirdly this article from Nature magazine does discuss the evidence supporting my idea that UV light somehow targets subcutaneous fat (the type that skin fold tests measure) stating that it somehow ‘melts’ it down. However, rather than being a good thing the article goes on to point out how potentially bad that is for us and how that contributes to the classic ‘environmentally aged’ look.  Hummmm.

I’ll leave it there for now and slot this bit of research into my February file as I would like to have the time and money to run some proper tests on this one. In the meantime if you have any evidence or stories to contribute on this very meaty subject please feel free.

In the meantime stay safe and beautiful.

beach walk