Our skin tans as a reaction to UV light exposure. Basically, when UV rays penetrate the skin, our skin cells immediately react by forming a barrier of melanin (skin pigment) – because they are trying to protect the skin. That’s right, a suntan is actually a result of the body trying to protect itself from the damaging effects of UV radiation exposure. While some rays do get reflected by this physiological process, a lot still gets absorbed by the cells and damage results, particularly the disintegration of collagen and elastin fibres (your skin’s support structure). Your skin can repair itself to a certain extent, however aging and further exposure slows the repair cycle and wrinkles, as well as many other signs of aging, appear.
When put this way, a sun tan isn’t so “healthy” is it? Just because you look like you’ve been outdoors soaking up the sun doesn’t mean that you’re leading an active lifestyle. It’s better to keep your skin protected and you can always use a bronzer to mimic that golden hue if you really wanted to. If you’re worried about Vitamin D, especially at this time of year, there are many dietary sources including fatty fish, milk and egg yolks.