Science Questions

Would a base tan be best?

Sun, 24th May 2009

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Question

Pooky Amsterdam asked:

Well wouldnít just a basal tan, with a basal level of melanin be the best way forward?

Answer

Nina - A basal level of tanning is a bit problematical because it costs a lot (in terms of your body)  to make melanin. Melanin is a big pigment and where you need it. For instance, if you live in equatorial Africa you really need it. Itís worth the expense. If you live outside of the tropics where there isnít a lot of sun then it doesnít pay off and so thatís why in some populations you have the ability to tan but in very northern, Eurasian populations you donít have the ability to tan at all. Thereís so little UV. Basically, the body economises.

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