Biology Question #684

Steve Tran, a 16 year old male from the Internet asks on May 18, 2001,

Hi, my name is Steve and I am a junior bodybuilder. Which one gives you the red tan, the normal tanning lotion or vegetable oil? and why?

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The answer

Mark Skinner answered on May 17, 2001

If you want a natural tan, the type of oil or tanning lotion you put on should not have an effect on the colour of a tan. Your tan is caused by pigments (melanins) in your own skin which will be various shades of dark red to brown depending on the individual. Normally at the start of a tan you might get a bit redder because there is a certain amount of sunburn when you have not begun to produce enough melanin to give you the protection from the sun. UV Protection is the natural purpose of a tan. You can get tanning lotions that dye the skin and these might give a red unnatural tan:

Fooling around with tanning can be dangerous and cause skin cancer, so check out:

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