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Why Do Certain Types Tan Easily?

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VeronicaM
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Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:32 pm      Reply with quote
My skin gets very dark in the summer, although I get very little sun and try to cover my face.

Of all my siblings, I probably tan the easiest.

Why do certain skin types tan so easily? Does it have anything to do with sensitivity? In other words, is my skin more sensitive than that of most people's.
Nonie aka AD
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Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:03 am      Reply with quote
VeronicaM wrote:
My skin gets very dark in the summer, although I get very little sun and try to cover my face.

Of all my siblings, I probably tan the easiest.

Why do certain skin types tan so easily? Does it have anything to do with sensitivity? In other words, is my skin more sensitive than that of most people's.


VeronicaMI think you probably have more melanocytes (pigment producing cells) than they do so more melanin is produced in you to make you tan faster. Tanning is the body's way of protecting itself from the damage UV rays cause when they penetrate skin. So the darker you are, the more protected you are.
Quote:

The Science of Tanning
SuntanThere's a lot of controversy surrounding tanning. Some people say a little sun is good for you (it's a source of vitamin D, you know), while others say you should stay in the shade to avoid skin cancer. But how many people really know what's going on in your skin to make you turn brown? Get the good on tanning here!

What is a Tan?
Melanocytes are special skin cells that produce melanin (skin pigment) when they are exposed to ultraviolet light in sunlight. The pigment absorbs UV radiation in sunlight, so it helps to protect skin cells from UV damage. Your body actually produces two kinds of pigmant. One is called eumelanin and it is responsible for the golden brown color we normally associate with tanning. Another pigment is called phaeomelanin and it produces a red color. Redheads and blondes produce more phaeomelanin and less eumelanin, which is why they don't tan as well.

How Does Your Body Know It's Sunny Out?
Sunlight (or UV light from tanning beds) affects the pituitary gland (a gland at the base of the brain that secretes hormones) which then produces MSH (melanocyte-stimulating hormone). This hormone flows through the bloodstream to the melanocytes, which makes them able to produce more melanin. Since the pituitary gland is tied into the optic nerve, (the nerve in your eyes that lets you sense light), wearing sunglasses makes you tan less. Weird.

Tanning and Race
Different races tan differently (and some don't tan at all). Caucasians (white people) and other lighter skinned races tan the way explained above. People of darker races produce melanin continuously (without having to go in the sun), which means their skin is always pigmented (dark) to varying degrees. People of dark races are much less likely to get skin cancer because their cells are constantly protecting them from UV radiation.



Read more: The Science of Tanning http://www.kidzworld.com/article/4465-the-science-of-tanning#ixzz277TcxG1a


I think sensitive skin is more likely to burn. But I do think that tanning and sensitivity might have nothing to do with each other. I consider my skin sensitive but I'm pretty well "tanned" Razz and I do get darker in the sun. The article at the following link talks about sensitive skin:

http://www.temos.net/skin_sensitivity.htm
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