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Top | Wear a Hat & Sunblock | Dress to Protect | Avoid Peak hours in the Sun | Check the daily UV Index | Avoid Tanning Booths | Chemical Tanning | Sun Sensitivity | Cancer Protection ABC's | Natural Defense

How does the skin naturally protect itself?

It is the slow and continuous renewal of the epidermis which best assures the skin’s resistance. It takes at least one month for the layers to reach the surface and die. In a sense, in the middle of the epidermis there is a frontier between life and death. This level is a screen which blocks out all exterior penetration.

Beyond this “frontier”, the cells still retaining water and life undergo a change to cells with less water which become filled with keratine. They no longer have a nucleus. They die. The last layer (stratum corneum) consists of tightly packed, scale-like cells which are continually being shed and replaced.

To sum up, the skin’s capacity to protect itself from constant aggression come from:
·    the particular epidermal structure;
·    the continuous transformation of living cells to dead cells;
·    keratine production; the sebum’s impregnation which tightly packs the keratine layers.


·    The longest infra red. The skin becomes warm and red but there is no tanning effect
·    The medium: luminous - visible rays that light
·    The short ultra-violets, those which have a tanning effect Ultra-violet rays are of several dimensions:
·    The shortest ones do not reach us, since they are filtered by the atmosphere’s ozone.
·    The longest penetrate the stratum. They allow a direct and uniform tan.

The rays of medium length are the most intense. They stimulate the creation of melanine, but a tan appears only after many days. These rays are responsible for sunburns. The tan they produce comes after the redness
-burn-desquarnation cycle. It is more dull than the direct tanning and does not last

How do we tan?

Tanning is a chemical reaction. Melanin is created by the reaction tyrosine, one of the skin’s amino-acids which must be stimulated by ultra-violet rays.

The infra red and luminous rays bring certain changes to the skin which helps the ultra-violet action. These are the true responsible of tanning.

The direct pigmentation normally obtained by melanocytes under a reasonable exposure to “good” rays (long Spring morning rays, etc.) stays longer. The indirect pigmentation forced by rays of medium length (noon, mid-Summer, on water, etc.) is eliminated by the sunburn exfoliation.

When do we tan baest?

When are we exposed to ultra-violet rays which do not cause sunburns? Mornings before 11:00 and afternoons after 3:00, when “good” rays are dominant, and heat and light are less intense.

During what season?

In Spring, in continental or temperate climates.
All year round in tropical zones.
In Winter at high altitude, when ultra-violet rays are present even though it is cold. We may get sunburnt as well as catch a chill!

The Sunburn

Noon sun, reverberation, long exposure, are responsible for sunburns.

The skin becomes red and warm: erythema. To fight against irritation, lymph gathers:
edema. The epidermis swells and erupts in blisters. Layers destroyed by a sunburn form scales and the skin peels.

The progressive cycle of a sunburn spreads in a few days. It is immutable. The skin, while shedding, brings on the tan. To tan in a safer fashion, you must avoid a sunburn which will desquamate the skin.

Secondary Reactions to the Sun

The epidermis’ accelerated growth and life
Skin destroyed by sunburn needs to be reinforced. The master cells of the epidermis produce new cells at a fast rate which will lead an accelerated life cycle: they grow rapidly and die sooner. This new rhythm is necessaiy to the renewal of fallen cells. It lasts many days after exposure to sunlight
The premature death of cells increases the thickness of the stratum corneum.

Ageing of Collagen

Ultra-violet rays, not only penetrate the epidermis, they penetrate the dermis and cause damage. They attack the noble protein of its fibres, the collagen. The destroyed collagen is absorbed and replaced by new collagen. Unfortunately, as we mature, the skin is unable to provide the same quality of collagen. Eventually, it is not as hydrophilic, so water becomes less abundant; the dermis fibres also become thinner and less elastic.

Superficial Dehydration

The heat of intense sunshine increases water evaporation. The dried skin at the surface loses its softness. Compacted cells exfoliate and small lines wrinide the skin. This superficial dehydration is not due to ageing, but it mars the face’s beauty.

How does the skin protect itself against the Sun?

It thickens gradually

The epidermis’ best protection is its capacity to produce more cells. If the epidermis is not disturbed by massive desquamation, it will thicken gradually and form the most protective barrier: the stratum corneum mass. This layer is the best protection against too much ultra­violet absorption by collagen fibres and other tissues.

Progressive formation of the protective stratum corneum slows the exfoliation of superficial cells. The tan remains longer.

It colours

The melanin settles to form a screen against heavy penetration of rays. The direct pigmentation is not sufficiently protective; therefore, we must wait for indirect pigmentation, which injects a darker pigment, offering better protection to the epidermis.
If the process is not hindered by desquamation, it is effective in four or five days.

When to choose Sun Product?

Anti-sun product
To be used:

·    when we are over 20;
·    when the skin is fair and delicate;
·    when the sun is strong
·    when we take 3the Pill3 or certain other medication; when we want a lasting tan.
choose a sun product
·    when we are veiy young
·    when we have a dark complexion;
·    when we have thick skin; -
·    when the sun is mild;
·    when we are already tanned.

How to prepare skin to obtain a good tan ?

·    Avoid irritating the skin with deep cleansing.
·    Do not use acid soap which will modily the skin’s pH and prevent the formation of melanin.
·    Do not take hot showers or baths, the heat breaks up certain skin proteins which are necessaxy to the protective layer.
·    Do not apply alcohol, cologne, deodorant, they increase the UV action and the skin becomes sensitive.
·    Never apply lotion with a base of bergamot it will ‘stain’ the skin.
·    Please note that certain medication such as aspirin, tranquilizers, antibiotics and ‘the Pill” make the skin sensitive to the sun.
Allergies and pigmentation faults will appear.

How to Tan with less damage ?

·    Start out with exposure of 15 minutes total.
·    Add 15 minutes every day.
·    Do not sunbathe for more than 2 hours at a time. In any case the maximal formation of melanin may not be exceeded after 50 minutes.
·    Avoid strong rays: do not sunbathe between 11:00 and 3:00.
·    Do not lie on a reflective surface. Use a dark blanket instead.
·    Coat the skin with a sun or anti-sun product, even on a cloudy day.
·    Protect your scalp from sunstroke. Wear a hat
·    Drink plenty of water.

How to obtain a lasting tan ?

·    Sunbathe three or four days, then
·    Let two or three days pass without sun exposure.
·    Start again.
Three or four days of exposure to “good” rays, at “good” times protected by a “good” sun product gives a luminous and even coloration. It is not affected by desquaination. It lasts between 10 and 15 days.

Top | Wear a Hat & Sunblock | Dress to Protect | Avoid Peak hours in the Sun | Check the daily UV Index | Avoid Tanning Booths | Chemical Tanning | Sun Sensitivity | Cancer Protection ABC's | Natural Defense

Skin Anatomy and Physiology Acne Ingredients Cosmetics
Dictionary of Skin Care Terms Skin Care Advice Skin Problems
The Sun & Your Skin Skin Care News  

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