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Does a sunburn turn into a tan?

Does a sunburn turn into a tan?

We’ve all been there. A few too many hours in the sun without sunscreen, and by the evening our skin has turned a bright red colour and is tingling in a painful way.

Many people say that a sunburn will turn into a tan, but is this entirely true?

In this article we will answer that question for you. But first we need to explain the science behind tanning.

The 2-part process of tanning from the sun

Part one

When the sun’s UV rays hit your skin for a long period of time, they damage your skin cells on the top layer surface of your skin.

Your body then responds by using your immune system to deal with this. This results in an increase in blood flow to the damaged area. It is this increase in blood flow which gives you that bright red hue (The tell-tale sign of a good holiday!).

Part two

The next stage is the reparation phase.

Your skin begins to produce more melanin to try and protect your (already vulnerable) skin from further damage.

Melanin is the brown pigment found in skin, hair and eyes and acts as a barrier to the UV rays (It also absorbs heat from the sun which keeps you cool).

Certain skin types produce Melanin much more easily than others. So, certain people tan easily and others not so well.

 Summary

To summarise this, it all depends on your skin type. If your body produces more melanin, then a sunburn is more likely to tan.

But remember, your body only produces melanin as a reaction to being damaged in the first place. So, in the end, a tan is just skin damage, and you shouldn’t be spending time in the sun to get one.

The same goes for sunbeds, which are just a way of hitting your skin with UV rays without the sun. It has the same effect though and it still damages your skin.

The healthiest way of getting a tan is by using a fake tan. Here are some good quality fake tans that won’t damage your skin.

Will my skin-type turn into a tan when sunburnt?

Experts can class a person’s skin type by using the Fitzpatrick Skin Type (FST) scale.

The scale estimates the amount of melanin in your skin and gives you a class between 1 and 6 using the factors below:

  • Skin colour
  • Hair colour
  • Eye colour

Using the different classes below you can guess as to whether you are likely to tan or not. 

Again, the only way to get a tan safely is to use fake tan. Different colours are used for different skin types, and Unreal tanning products are customized for your skin. Take our quiz to find out which tanning solution is best for you.

No matter what, it’s important you soothe the burn straight away

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’ve spent too long in the sun and are feeling the burn as we speak.

If that’s the case, then the damage is done, and you can’t reverse the effects. However, you can treat it to get some relief. Here are a few tips to help alleviate your sunburn:

  • Moisturise: This has to be the number one remedy. Moisturise your skin with Aloe Vera gel to help with the pain and itching. This should also moisturize it and stop it from drying too much.
  • Cool your skin: It is recommended that you try to reduce the temperature of your skin several times a day. You can take a cool shower or apply a wet flannel to the burn area.
  • Hydrate: You should be doing this anyway in hot weather but try to drink plenty of water to avoid getting dehydrated. Dehydration dries the skin out too and will make your sunburn worse.
  • Anti-inflammatories: Many standard anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen can help to reduce any swelling and ultimately soothe the pain.
  • Corticosteroids: Similar to the above point, any Corticosteroid cream will help to reduce the pain and ease any swelling.

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