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Changes in tanning/melanin production???

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Old 07-20-2006, 02:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 15
peejee HB User
Changes in tanning/melanin production???

Hi everyone,

Was wondering if anyone could clear up this confusion.

Now first off, I'm not a sun worshipper in any way and I know and respect the dangers of tanning and skin cancer.

But in the summer, I like to slap on the factor 20-15 and sit in the sun for a couple of hours a day for about a week or so as I'm very pale.

What is confusing me is from the ages of 7-14 I used to go on family holidays every summer for 2 weeks to some hot countries. And looking back at the photos of those trips, I was always VERY tanned all over and had tan lines

I'm 24 now, and am very very pale but what confuses me is, I can no longer get a tan like I did when I was younger. I can get some colour but not the deep tan I had when I was on holiday. I didn't even seem to tan that much when I went on holiday to greece 3 years ago.

Can anyone explain this? Has my skin changed? Or do I just not spend the same time in the sun (I don't due to my fear of melanomas) that I did when I was a child. My Dad (irish) is quite dark skinned but my Mum is very pale, btw.

Thanks for the help.

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Old 07-26-2006, 01:15 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 49
dand5 HB User
Re: Changes in tanning/melanin production???

I don't know for sure, but my guess is that melanin production becomes less efficient as people age in those who produce melanin in response to UV injury (i.e. people that tan).

I am portuguese and I remember that as kids, most portuguese were quite dark, but older portuguese are much lighter on average sometimes indistinguishable from northern europeans. This could be cultural as older portuguese tend to have more of an aversion towards the sun and probably spend less time in it, but there is probably a physiological component as well.

In any case, you might try skipping the sunblock and just exposing yourself fully for a few minutes and then covering yourself completely or going indoors instead of laying out for a long time. I am saying this because when I was a kid I was rarely fully exposed to the sun for more than 10-20 minutes at a time (this includes the time I spent inside the ocean) before my parents made me put on some clothes and a hat, yet I was always really tanned when I got back from the beach.

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