Recent Blog Articles
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia by telemedicine: Is it as good as in-person treatment?
Prediabetes diagnosis as an older adult: What does it really mean?
Is blood sugar monitoring without diabetes worthwhile?
Large review study finds low risk of erectile dysfunction after prostate biopsy
Does exercise help protect against severe COVID-19?
A new Alzheimer’s drug has been approved. But should you take it?
Need physical therapy? 3 key questions your PT will ask
COVID-19 vaccines: Safe and effective for American Indian and Alaskan Native communities
Should we track all breakthrough cases of COVID-19?
Period equity: What is it, why does it matter?
Skin and Hair
Why suntanning is still a bad idea
Sun protection is essential whenever you are outdoors. Self-tanning products offer a safe alternative for attaining that sun-kissed look.
Gone are the days when we were urged to soak up the rays to get a healthy glow and absorb the "sunshine vitamin." Decades of medical research have determined that sun exposure causes skin cancer and that a nutritious diet and supplementation are reliable ways to obtain the vitamin D essential for good health. In other words, there is no good reason to expose your skin to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
There is no such thing as a healthy suntan. "A tan is a response to DNA damage," says Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, a dermatologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Such damage is instrumental in the development of skin cancer, and it also accelerates skin aging. "Some women may tan well for many years, but eventually the skin quality will change, become leathery, develop lentigenes ["age spots"], and then coarse wrinkling," Dr. Gilchrest says. If you're a lifelong tanner, compare the skin on the underside of your upper arm or buttocks to a tanned area, and you'll see evidence of the changes wrought by UV radiation.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.