Over the years I have had a few guys tell me that because they have a tan, they don’t need to worry about sun protection. Apparently a tan has a sun protective factor (SPF) similar to a sunscreen, so that is all the protection that they need.
The problem is this is that it seems to be just half the facts, and the experts have told me that, yes a tan can provide some sun protection but what most people don’t seem to understand is that it is only equivalent to about a SPF3, nowhere near the minimum level of SPF30 which is required to give the sun protection needed.
And the interesting thing is, and I think that many people just haven’t thought about it, in order to get that tan, and that completely inadequate level of SPF3 protection, they need to expose their unprotected skin to levels of UV that are high enough to cause skin cancer. So in order to get a small amount of protection they must put their skin at risk time and time again. It just makes no sense.
Essentially your tan is your skin trying to protect itself from harmful UV damaging the living cells. When it comes to skin damage it really isn’t any different from getting burnt and getting a tan, because both represent skin damage and both can lead to skin cancer.