Tanning isn’t for everyone, but for some of us, nothing beats the feel of the warm sun on your skin as you begin to bronze up. Our skin tone evens out from getting a little sun kissed and our bodies just seem to be a little more toned. In a way, tanning makes our blemishes seem less obvious. It’s one of the greatest perks of summer.
Or at least it used to be — until we found out that tanning is bad for us as it causes skin cancer, wrinkles and age spots. Talk about a tanning buzz kill.
As it turns out, tanning actually might not be as bad for us as we previously thought. Well not if you do it properly and in moderation, says the good doctor himself, Dr. Oz.
We had a chance to ask the daytime talk show host some pertinent diet questions recently, so naturally we took the opportunity to ask him about one of our (former) favourite summertime activities — tanning. And according to him, a little bit of sun can actually be good for us.
“A little bit of sunlight is good — not just for Vitamin D, but there are tons of different chemicals or nutrients that are turned on or activated by sunlight,” he said. “So you actually want a little sunlight.”
Well we all have different definitions of “a little,” but according to Dr. Oz in Canada, that means it’s safe to head out roughly twice a week for no more than 20 minutes. A small amount of time, to be sure, but better than nothing, right?
His reasoning is this: there are three types of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma). The first two can be locally treated and tend not to spread as aggressively as melanoma, which is the “real risk” of tanning.
“The melanoma cancer has not been linked to tanning, it’s linked to burning. So if you don’t burn tyourself, you don’t have an increased risk of melanoma,” he said. “In fact, the rate of melanoma along the southern coast of the United States along the border of Mexico is actually lower than in the northern coast along the Canadian border. That’s because in the north, it’s hard to get enough Vitamin D — we think there might be some meaningful relationship going on there.”
So now that we’ve got that out of the way, how do we ensure that we’re tanning in a safe, healthy way? Especially if we also want to avoid wrinkles and basal cell cancers, which are linked to tanning?
“I tell people to never go out without sunblock on your face, hands and back of the neck,” said Dr. Oz, pointing out that 30 SPF of a reputable brand is more than fine since there’s no proof that higher formulas work any better. “But then your chest, back and legs, you can have a little bit of sun exposure to them twice a week in Canada. It’s a nice way to get a little bit of Vitamin D that we know our ancestors used to get every day. You’ll look good, feel good and your skin will thank you years to come.”