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Sunburn or Suntan: Which is More Harmful? Know From Expert

The summer sun is harsh. The direct UV rays can burn your skin causing lasting damage. In summers, direct exposure to the sun can make our skin tan or can make it burn. While you may be thinking what is the difference between the two, we are here to guide you about the two and how you can protect your skin from getting damaged by the sun.

What is Suntan?

Our skin contains a pigment called Melanin which is responsible for the darker complexion. The more the melanin level, the darker the skin is. When someone gets exposed to the sun, melanin level increases which lead to the darkening of the skin.

What is Sunburn?

When the upper layer of skin gets exposed to the UV rays for a longer period of time, it becomes red and hot. The skin becomes itchy and painful. This is because the harsh rays burn the skin. It creates inflammation, swelling and redness. Sunburn has common symptoms like blistering, swelling, rash and peeling skin.

How are the two different from each other?

A Delhi and Mumbai-based cosmetologist, Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta explains the difference between the two in an Instagram video. In her video, she explains that fairer skins never tan, they just burn due to the very less melanin production. Whereas the darker skins have high melanin levels due to which after getting exposed to the sun, they produce an extra layer of melanin which serves as a protection from the UV rays.

Which is more harmful?

Dr. Geetika points out that sunburn is more harmful than suntan as it causes “severe damage to your skin, which may lead to premature ageing and skin cancer.” While tanning just increases the melanin level causing the skin to darken, regular tanning may have some negative effects also from increasing the chance of premature ageing to cancer.

How do protect skin from burning or tanning?

Further, in the Instagram post, Dr. Geetika provides a few valuable suggestions to protect our skin from the sun. These are:

  • Use sunscreen daily
  • Avoid Mid-day sun
  • Stand in the shade if you are out
  • Wear clothes that protect skin from the sun

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