Home > Health Library > Suntan
A suntan is a darkening of the skin in reaction to exposure to the
ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight. The skin pigment melanin becomes darker as
UV rays damage the skin.
Although skin gets darker to protect its deepest layers against
harm from UV rays, a tan is evidence of some degree of sun damage. This damage
is cumulative, which means the more time a person spends in the sun over many
years, the more long-term damage is done to the skin.
Tanning booths also can cause skin changes and damage.
Current as of:
May 27, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
I Want To...
Join Our Social Network