Do you think a tan is healthy? - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 16 Old 07-15-2009, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
Metasequoia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In the village
Posts: 5,696
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I'm of the camp that sunscreen is harmful (except the zinc stuff) & even the zinc if it's used too often because of lack of sunlight.

But being raised around all of the skin cancer scare tactics, "there's no such thing as a healthy tan", "always wear sunblock", etc, etc, it's hard to let go of it completely.

I rarely use sun block on my kids. We spend *a lot* of time in the sun, all day long. They *never* burn, they just get a really deep, golden brownish color. Their father is from Mexico, so it's in their genes to brown a bit. We go to the pool about 4-5 days of the week without sun block but I do put sun block on them when we go to the beach because the sun is just so strong.

So, if they never burn, is it "safe" for them to get a brownish skin color?

Homeschoolin' Mama chicken3.gifto Dd1 2/3/00, Dd2 1/13/03, Ds1 3/11/06 & Ds2 11/18/10!!
Metasequoia is online now  
#2 of 16 Old 07-15-2009, 11:35 PM
 
MCatLvrMom2A&X's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: With Vin Diesel ;) YUMMMM
Posts: 14,793
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I do think that being tan is in itself protection from the sun. I have seen many things on tv talking about it. Documentaries and stuff like that. Baking in the sun is not a good idea of course and you should always take into account your skin type and where you live etc. But nature intended for us to tan or we wouldnt do it.

 
SAHMlady.gifread.giflovin' trekkie.giffan intactivist.gifwinner.jpg to loveeyes.gifenergy.gifDD 10/00 & superhero.gifmoon.gifDS 10/04 ribbonpb.gifIf your ds is intact, keep him safe, visit the Case Against Circ forumnocirc.gifCirc, a personal choice, Your sonsyes.gifbrokenheart.gif11/98brokenheart.gif6/99ribbonbrown.gifanti-tobaccoribbonyellow.gifThyroid cancer survivor. With cat.gif& goldfish.gif & (Boxer)dog2.gif wishing 4 whale.gif&ribbonwhite.gifsigncirc1.gifselectivevax.gifdelayedvax.gif

MCatLvrMom2A&X is online now  
#3 of 16 Old 07-15-2009, 11:47 PM
2xy
 
2xy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 3,162
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCatLvrMom2A&X View Post
But nature intended for us to tan or we wouldnt do it.
Some of us don't do it.

I'm a fair-skinned person who spent 17 years in Hawaii and I've never had a tan. I go from being white, to burnt with freckles, to peeling and being white again.

Science explains why some of us lack melanin. People who acclimated to climates with weak sunlight will develop vitamin D deficiency if their bodies' natural defense mechanism is too strong. Skin color can also affect folate levels, which are crucial for reproduction.

Nature intended for us to tan if we had remained tropical creatures, which we haven't.

Personally, I'm more afraid of cancer than sunscreen. But I'm of Scotch-Irish, English and German ancestry. Your mileage may vary.
2xy is offline  
#4 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:06 AM
 
MCatLvrMom2A&X's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: With Vin Diesel ;) YUMMMM
Posts: 14,793
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
True my dh just burns as well. Very fair skin that is why I said the part about taking into account your skin type Though I definatly needed to word it better.

 
SAHMlady.gifread.giflovin' trekkie.giffan intactivist.gifwinner.jpg to loveeyes.gifenergy.gifDD 10/00 & superhero.gifmoon.gifDS 10/04 ribbonpb.gifIf your ds is intact, keep him safe, visit the Case Against Circ forumnocirc.gifCirc, a personal choice, Your sonsyes.gifbrokenheart.gif11/98brokenheart.gif6/99ribbonbrown.gifanti-tobaccoribbonyellow.gifThyroid cancer survivor. With cat.gif& goldfish.gif & (Boxer)dog2.gif wishing 4 whale.gif&ribbonwhite.gifsigncirc1.gifselectivevax.gifdelayedvax.gif

MCatLvrMom2A&X is online now  
#5 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:10 AM
 
alegna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 44,408
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't think it's "healthy" necessarily.... but I don't think it's unhealthy.

I think that a few years down the road they're going to figure out that vitamin d is really all that and it's best from the sun (yeah... I know, the info is already out there...) and that as long as you avoid burning, you avoid the worst of the harmful issues with the sun.

My dh is another that doesn't tan though.

-Angela
alegna is offline  
#6 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:15 AM
 
sbgrace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 9,223
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
No doubt burns are not healthy and some people are going to burn, not tan, if they spend time in the sun.

For those that can tan I still don't think it's particularly healthy. I do think sun exposure is healthy..its the tan part though that I quibble with.

Two things I am confident sun exposure can cause in people:

1. Skin Aging. Everyone I personally know without naturally dark skin who spent a lot of time in the sun looks older than their age in their 30's to 40's. Heavy exposure people often look much older. I guess I'm saying lots of tanning looks really nice at 20 but often isn't pretty or healthy looking at 40.

I've got a lot of sun spots that I directly attribute to tans from days spent at the pool as a child. I never remember burning and I wasn't, as a teen and adult, heavy on sun exposure.

2. Squamous cell carcinoma which both my parents have had. I don't think there is any doubt this is sun related. However, it's not the deadly type of skin cancer that melanoma is. But it's ugly and it's cancer.

We just limit (less than 15 minutes usually) sun at mid-day generally and my kids wear wide brimmed hats outside to protect their faces whenever they are out.

What might be healthy? Vitamin D is healthy. But you don't need the level of exposure to get a tan to "fill up" on the amount of vitamin D you can take in at one time from the sun. So sun makes D but tans aren't necessary. And not everyone can make enough vitamin D from sun..particularly darker skinned individuals. I think most people need a supplement for at least some of the year. I think if a person is relying on sun to provide all the vitamin D they need (without making sure their levels really are ok) is not making a wise choice.

Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys! 

My Blog-free homeschooling finds and my lesson plans and link to the new User Agreement

sbgrace is offline  
#7 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:38 AM
 
Peony's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 25,342
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I limit my sun exposure more then most people, I burn very easily and get sun spots instantly. Add in a strong family history of skin cancer with my fair skin and I cover up most of the time when I go outside and do the same for my children. One of them tans easily, another never tans like me. For us I worry more about the sun then what is in the sunscreen.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
Peony is online now  
#8 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:41 AM
 
tanyalynn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: TX, but anticipating one more move
Posts: 11,508
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I think part of the equation on whether sun exposure is healthy is our skin's response, whether we tan or not, but I didn't realize until recently that that's not fixed. I used to not tan, and just burn (I'm very fair, some combo of German/English/Scottish and maybe other really pale people in my background), but this spring, very abruptly, I started tanning. The amount of time I can spend in the sun without burning is much, much longer than a few months ago.

There's a study on omega-3 supplementation and how it can increase the amount of time it takes for people to burn, let me see if I can find it...

http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v1.../5611153a.html

And the more nuanced version I've read elsewhere is that it's not just supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, it's the overall balance in the body between omega-3 and omega-6, so in part that's past fat composition and in part it's current fat intake, and how much of that is omega-6.

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/search?q=sunburn
This blog describes it better and it has links to the studies he quotes, which is quite helpful.

So I have to wonder if whether time spent in the sun is healthy, and how healthy, is much more individual and time/situation-specific than I would've previously assumed.

As a practical matter, my kids also have DH's influence which is much browner skin, and so they tan easily and quickly. But for myself, I think starting to tan is indicative of a positive change in my overall health, and so I'm not sure if the tan itself is healthy, or if it matters one way or the other (other than me trying to help make up a vitamin D deficiency currently), but I think the time I'm spending in the sun is healthier now is than it used to be.
tanyalynn is offline  
#9 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:49 AM
 
ChickyMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: NY
Posts: 261
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
From Wikipedia;
Quote:
Tanning is a natural process, whereby the skin creates the brown-colored pigment called melanin, to protect it against the harmful UV rays in sunlight, but operates equally with artificial UV radiation.

Firstly, the UVA-radiation generates oxidative stress, which in turn oxidises pre-existing melanin. This leads to rapid darkening of already existing melanin. Secondly, there is an increased production of melanin (melanogenesis).[1] It is a reaction of the body to photodamage from UVB.[2] This melanogenesis is triggered by the same DNA damage that causes sunburn...Melanin protects the body from direct and indirect DNA damage absorbing an excess of solar radiation, which can otherwise be harmful.
I do believe mainstream media puts out a lot of hype to get people to slather on the chemicals but I too have questioned whether there is validity to what they are saying aside from their alterior motives.

Okay, so based on the scientific understanding (above) of how tanning happens, it seems tanning provides your skin with some level of sun protection but that there is also free radical damage happening which can also lead to cancer and other harmful effects. Tanning for sure can lead to skin damage in terms of wrinkles and it does seem that people of certain genetic profiles whether they are able to tan or not are more susceptable to skin cancer. I have always let myself tan or put on very low spf sunscreen throughout my life but now that I have children I have become very cautious and have a sense that letting them tan too much may be tossing the dice. I do allow them to get a light tan but still put sunscreen on them if it is very hot or they are out for extended periods and especially if they are not wearing any we will take breaks in the shade or inside.

~Diana
ChickyMama is offline  
#10 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
Metasequoia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In the village
Posts: 5,696
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
Personally, I'm more afraid of cancer than sunscreen. But I'm of Scotch-Irish, English and German ancestry. Your mileage may vary.
But I think that using chemical sunscreen can cause cancer. Even titanium dioxide is photo-reactive with the sun. Zinc is, so far, the only "safe" sunscreen out there.

BUT, I also think that a vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunlight can cause more dangerous cancers (+ autoimmune diseases, etc.) It's REALLY hard to maintain a healthy vitamin D level. I've worshiped the sun for years & taken CLO & *still* my D was low, really low - like low 30s, by a Quest test which means it was even lower than that. I can only imagine what people's D levels look like who slather on the sunscreen every chance they get and rely on diet or a multivitamin for their D intake.

I've had to add an additional D supplement on top of CLO & all of the sun exposure.

But this isn't really the point of my question. I do agree with Tanya (great links!) that I think it has *a lot* to do with diet. I've read many examples of people switching to a traditional diet, increasing their coconut oil intake & decreasing their polyunsaturated oils & suddenly being able to tan rather than burn. So aside from the omega 3/omega 6 balance, I think the type of oils/fats are key.

I'm also of Irish descent & while I have to be more careful of the sun than the kids (I tend to turn pink on my chest & nose), I am still pretty tan. As long as I go slowly, I don't burn.

As for skin aging, is that unhealthy? I think it's a natural process, probably increased by long-term sun exposure, but I don't think that means it's unhealthy. I look at native central & south American people in old age who have so many wrinkles their faces look like leather, but they're healthy people. They don't head to the dermatologist every few months to have spots removed either.

I always hear that burning in childhood is the most likely indicator that you'll have skin cancer as an adult. This is why I wonder about tanning in childhood.....

Homeschoolin' Mama chicken3.gifto Dd1 2/3/00, Dd2 1/13/03, Ds1 3/11/06 & Ds2 11/18/10!!
Metasequoia is online now  
#11 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 10:28 AM
2xy
 
2xy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 3,162
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think that most cancers are caused by longevity. I don't think that nature intended us all to live to a ripe old age of 80 or more.

Sunburns hurt. Wearing a hat and long sleeves/pants when it's 95 degrees and humid is not something I want to do. I enjoy the beach, Six Flags, and other places where you get ridiculous sun exposure. I use sunscreen. If that's risky, oh well. Life is risky. I've been wearing sunscreen for nearly 40 years, and I'm still here.
2xy is offline  
#12 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 11:59 AM
 
mom61508's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2,002
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have read to that IF you have weak adrenals you don't tan as well??? Truth to that I don't know but makes sense.

I tanned easily as a child then I noticed once I was pregnant and right after I burned easier not tanned.
Now I'm 13 months PP and have really upped my omegas plus other fats and noticed I'm tanning and not really burning when out in the sun. Diet is EVERYTHING IMO.

DD has a great tan going right now(DH is Italian)she got daddy's wonderful skin. Of course I don't let her burn but we do go out to the pool for a hour(we worked up to a hour) without sunblock and once in awhile IF we will be out longer than that I use a natural sunscreen you couldn't give me a million dollars to put the other crap on her. Those chemicals are way worse than the sun IMO.
mom61508 is offline  
#13 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:09 PM
 
kjbrown92's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: CT
Posts: 10,755
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
I think part of the equation on whether sun exposure is healthy is our skin's response, whether we tan or not, but I didn't realize until recently that that's not fixed. I used to not tan, and just burn (I'm very fair, some combo of German/English/Scottish and maybe other really pale people in my background), but this spring, very abruptly, I started tanning. The amount of time I can spend in the sun without burning is much, much longer than a few months ago.

There's a study on omega-3 supplementation and how it can increase the amount of time it takes for people to burn, let me see if I can find it...

http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v1.../5611153a.html

And the more nuanced version I've read elsewhere is that it's not just supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, it's the overall balance in the body between omega-3 and omega-6, so in part that's past fat composition and in part it's current fat intake, and how much of that is omega-6.

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/search?q=sunburn
This blog describes it better and it has links to the studies he quotes, which is quite helpful.

So I have to wonder if whether time spent in the sun is healthy, and how healthy, is much more individual and time/situation-specific than I would've previously assumed.

As a practical matter, my kids also have DH's influence which is much browner skin, and so they tan easily and quickly. But for myself, I think starting to tan is indicative of a positive change in my overall health, and so I'm not sure if the tan itself is healthy, or if it matters one way or the other (other than me trying to help make up a vitamin D deficiency currently), but I think the time I'm spending in the sun is healthier now is than it used to be.
I was always a burn, peel, white, burn, peel, white person. Last year, I found out I was Vitamin D deficient, so I decided not to use sunscreen except when I was going to be out on the boat all day long. I was also taking Vitamin D and fish oil each day. Last summer (and this summer) I tanned. Was it because I had been Vitamin D deficient all that time that I didn't tan? Was it the Vitamin D and the fish oil? Was it the coconut oil I started consuming last year around the same time? I don't know. But I am of the camp that believes it isn't "fixed" by your skin type. My grandfather was out in the sun every day of his life. I don't remember him ever using sunscreen. He would be out in the garden from waking until noon every day. He lived to be 99, with no skin cancer. So I don't think sun necessarily causes skin cancer in everyone. There's got to be something else to it. And I'm thinking it's the Vitamin D deficiency (which we're creating with all the sunscreen and the horrible diets).

Also, what does a sun spot look like? I've never heard of it as it related to being out in the sun....

Kathy, mother of 3, wife of 1. My new recipe blog: www.kathysrecipebox.wordpress.com (no longer searchable by allergen, but at least it doesn't have a virus!)
kjbrown92 is offline  
#14 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:18 PM
 
Purple Sage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,201
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
I think part of the equation on whether sun exposure is healthy is our skin's response, whether we tan or not, but I didn't realize until recently that that's not fixed. I used to not tan, and just burn (I'm very fair, some combo of German/English/Scottish and maybe other really pale people in my background), but this spring, very abruptly, I started tanning. The amount of time I can spend in the sun without burning is much, much longer than a few months ago.

There's a study on omega-3 supplementation and how it can increase the amount of time it takes for people to burn, let me see if I can find it...

http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v1.../5611153a.html

And the more nuanced version I've read elsewhere is that it's not just supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, it's the overall balance in the body between omega-3 and omega-6, so in part that's past fat composition and in part it's current fat intake, and how much of that is omega-6.

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/search?q=sunburn
This blog describes it better and it has links to the studies he quotes, which is quite helpful.

So I have to wonder if whether time spent in the sun is healthy, and how healthy, is much more individual and time/situation-specific than I would've previously assumed.

As a practical matter, my kids also have DH's influence which is much browner skin, and so they tan easily and quickly. But for myself, I think starting to tan is indicative of a positive change in my overall health, and so I'm not sure if the tan itself is healthy, or if it matters one way or the other (other than me trying to help make up a vitamin D deficiency currently), but I think the time I'm spending in the sun is healthier now is than it used to be.

Great links!

To answer the OP, I think a reasonable tan that allows people to spend a reasonable amount of time in the sun without burning is a good thing. What is "reasonable" varies by person, of course. I'm not worried that my kids are getting a tan - they're not burning, and I think that's more important - but we don't stay outside in the sun longer than what is reasonable for our skin type. When we start to get a little pink or feel like we've had enough sun, we come in. I think the trouble starts when people stay out in the sun longer than their skin can tolerate. Then they either get a sunburn or have to use sunscreen which causes its own problems. For me, the solution would be to seek shade or wear a hat and light-weight clothes that will protect my skin if I had no choice but to be in direct sunlight for longer than I could handle, and the same goes for my kids.

I find this whole omega 3/6 link to sunburns and skin cancer fascinating. It makes total sense. Our bodies were meant to be able to withstand sunshine, and we tan because we've evolved to do that. It makes sense that consuming the foods we evolved to eat would enhance our natural ability to live our lives out in the sun as we evolved to do.
Purple Sage is offline  
#15 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:48 PM
 
tanyalynn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: TX, but anticipating one more move
Posts: 11,508
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
Skin color can also affect folate levels, which are crucial for reproduction.

But I'm of Scotch-Irish, English and German ancestry. Your mileage may vary.
Really interesting side topic, since some people require more folate than others, and that's also related to cancer and various health problems. I've never looked into it, but I wonder if the MTHFR gene mutation, the one that means that some people require twice as much folate than the typical person in order to maintain comparable blood levels, is mostly (solely?) in paler-skinned people. It seems like it could somehow fit into the migration of people, and their changing skin tones, and vitamin D synthesis and folate destruction by the sun. And from what I can tell, it's not a shockingly rare genetic variant.

Some of those people don't do well with folic acid, and need actual folate (they're used slightly differently in the body).

A nice link that explains the topic better than I've done, in case anyone's interested...
http://www.detoxpuzzle.com/folate.php
http://www.detoxpuzzle.com/mthfr.php
tanyalynn is offline  
#16 of 16 Old 07-16-2009, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
Metasequoia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In the village
Posts: 5,696
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom61508 View Post
I have read to that IF you have weak adrenals you don't tan as well??? Truth to that I don't know but makes sense.
My adrenals have been shot for years now (stage 7 by Diagnos-Techs) & I've still tanned really well without burning (Irish heritage but with some Native American tossed in on my Mom's side.) I'm naturally a light skinned person with blue eyes & very dark hair. 2 of my children also have blue eyes (the other has brown) & they all seem to tan about the same.

IMO, it has more to do with the types of oils consumed & the omega 3 connection.

A good vitamin D level (at least 50 & only with the proper testing method) is such a significant indicator of health that I'm sure that level is linked to the health of your skin & your body's ability to handle the sun.

Homeschoolin' Mama chicken3.gifto Dd1 2/3/00, Dd2 1/13/03, Ds1 3/11/06 & Ds2 11/18/10!!
Metasequoia is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off