Byline: CLAIRE COLEMAN
DESPITE the facts and the medical establishment's attempts to make the pale English rose as fashionable as the bronzed beauty, millions of us persist in going for gold. It seems to make us feel slimmer, happier and healthier. And while the messages about high factor sun protection and faking it with bronzers and self-tans seem to be having an impact, is slathering our skins in chemicals any safer than roasting in the cancer-causing sun's rays?
Here we assess the safety of today's tanning options.
SUNBATHING WITHOUT PROTECTION
THE GOOD NEWS: In all the furore surrounding the damage that UV rays can do to skin, it's easy to overlook the fact that some UV radiation is actually essential for the human body to function properly.
Not only do the warmth and light of sunshine promote a feeling of wellbeing and stimulate blood circulation, but exposure to sunlight also stimulates production of Vitamin D, essential for the immune system and healthy teeth and bones.
Experts say that between five and 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun (avoiding the midday sun), two to three times a week during the summer is enough to maintain Vitamin D levels.
THE BAD NEWS: We all know the truth; basking in the sunshine without any protection is dangerous. A tan is not a healthy glow, it's a sign that we've damaged the skin and could well be on our way to skin cancer - or at the very least take years off our looks. Have you checked out sun-worshipper Donatella Versace's wrinkles recently?
Sun safety rating: 0/5
THE GOOD NEWS: An effective sunscreen can block up to 97 per cent of the damaging UV rays. Sunscreens come in two different forms - they are either synthetic chemical formulations that …