Reason tans can take hours to appear – and when to know if its a health risk

Sunbeds: Cancer Research UK outline the dangers of tanning

The research team at Tel Aviv University, in Israel, have detailed how the tanning process works.

Professor Carmit Levy noted: “Skin pigmentation is paused following sun exposure.”

Delving into the mechanism as to why, Professor Levy explained what they found, which happens at the cellular level.

When exposed to UVB radiation from the sun, the body’s first response is to protect itself against cellular DNA damage.

Professor Levy elaborated: “The genetic information must be protected from mutations.

READ MORE… Mum diagnosed with serious form of skin cancer after spending years on sunbeds

“So this repair mechanism takes precedence inside the cell during exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

“The DNA repair mechanism essentially tells all the other mechanisms in the cell, ‘Stop everything, and let me work in peace.'”

While the body prioritises repairing DNA damage, the process of tanning is inhibited.

Once that is out of the way, there is an increased production of melanin, which is a natural pigment in the body, which leads to a tan.

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Any sort of tan – whether it be from the sun or a sunbed – is indicative of skin damage, the Skin Cancer Foundation notes.

A tan is “evidence of DNA injury to your skin” and it “speeds up visible signs of ageing”.

Tanning is also a risk factor for skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Having a history of five or more sunburns in your lifetime doubles your risk of deadly melanoma.

The NHS says the main symptom of melanoma is a new mole or a change in an existing mole.

Melanomas can have uneven borders, be a mix of colours, and can be larger than 6mm in size.

If you have noticed a change in a mole, do tell your doctor or book an appointment with a dermatologist.

The study, led by a team of biologists, was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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