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The Science of Tanning

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 skin cancer. 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 skin 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 golden brown color we normally associate with tanning. Another pigment is called phaeomelanin and it produces a red color. Redheads and blondes 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 hormones) which then produces MSH (melanocyte-stimulating hormone). This hormone flows through the bloodstream to the melanocytes, which makes them able to produce more melanin. Since the pituitary gland is tied into the optic nerve, (the nerve in your eyes that lets you sense light), wearing sunglasses makes you tan less. Weird.

Tanning and Race

Different races 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 (without having to go in the sun), 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 protecting them from UV radiation.

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General In The Forums

supravo
supravo posted in Debating:
You want to take up a responsibility at the age of 12. That is good...proves that you are really mature for your age. Good luck!  You should try out what you would like to do as a profession, it will help you to understand how it will be in the future. You should try them out...!
reply 19 minutes
xXSomeoneWasHereXx
I'm 11 at the moment. Turning twelve at the end of May. I really want to try out babysitting or petsitting. I've helped out in the preschool area of my old school, and sometimes help the little girl across the street when I'm playing with her older siblings. I'm also very mature for my age.   ​With the petsitting thing, I've been around lots of different types of animals. From a lizard to a horse. I also want to be  a veterinarian when I'm older so I think it will be a good thing for me to do. ​P.S. I plan on taking a Red Cross babysitting course.
reply 27 minutes
Rose678
Rose678 posted in Say Anything:
December 2 is my b day. 
reply 28 minutes
AnnaOfExquizurd
AnnaOfExquizurd posted in Food:
Biscuits
reply about 1 hour
Baka56
Baka56 posted in Say Anything:
"boredlol" wrote:may 22   :D :DOMG May 22 here too. Finally found a twin x) 
reply about 1 hour