why do we tan after sitting in the sun

Not to bronze your statuesque physique, although that may be why you tan. Tans are natural shields against the sun s ultraviolet radiation, which can damage skin tissue in the form of a sunburn (as well as cause
in the long-run). Exposure to ultraviolet rays causes certain skin cells to produce the pigment melanin, which darkens through oxidation. Enough beach bumming and those cells will migrate closer to the skin s surface and produce more melanin, further darkening the skin into a suntan. It s no wonder our bodies have developed the ability to produce melanin.

The pigment absorbs ultraviolet radiation and defends against further penetration of skin tissue. In other animals melanin proves diversely useful. It absorbs heat, an essential for cold-blooded organisms. It colors bird feathers, fish scales and squid ink, and helps to conceal nocturnal animals. Melanin even absorbs scattered light inside the eye to sharpen vision. But it appears that only humans will risk their skins for a little extra surface pigment. Follow Life s Little Mysteries on Twitter @. We re also on. There's a lot of controversy surrounding tanning.

Some people say a little sun is good for you (it's a source of vitamin D, you know), while others say you should stay in the shade to avoid. But how many people really know what's going on in your skin to make you turn brown? Get the good on tanning here! What is a Tan? Melanocytes are special cells that produce melanin (skin pigment) when they are exposed to ultraviolet light in sunlight. The pigment absorbs UV radiation in sunlight, so it helps to protect skin cells from UV damage. Your body actually produces two kinds of pigmant.

One is called eumelanin and it is responsible for the we normally associate with tanning. Another pigment is called phaeomelanin and it produces a red color. produce more phaeomelanin and less eumelanin, which is why they don't tan as well. How Does Your Body Know It's Sunny Out? Sunlight (or UV light from tanning beds) affects the pituitary gland (a gland at the base of the brain that secretes ) which then produces MSH (melanocyte-stimulating hormone). This hormone flows through to the melanocytes, which makes them able to produce more melanin.

Since the pituitary gland is tied into the nerve, (the nerve in your eyes that lets you sense light), wearing sunglasses makes you tan less. Weird. tan differently (and some don't tan at all). Caucasians (white people) and other lighter skinned races tan the way explained above. People of darker races produce melanin continuously ( ), which means their skin is always pigmented (dark) to varying degrees. People of dark races are much less likely to get skin cancer because their cells are constantly them from UV radiation.

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