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Will a tan protect me from skin cancer?

"Ask the Experts" at East Jefferson General Hospital [Web Exclusive Content]



A common falsely held belief is that a 'base' tan will protect the skin from future damage. Although darker skin offers more protection against sunburn and skin cancer than lighter skin, this is only for naturally dark skin, not skin that has been tanned nor sunburned.

In the past it was popular to have a 'healthy' tan. No such thing exists. When the skin darkens it is actually the skin cells trying to protect one from the further damage of UV radiation. A tan skin cell is a damaged skin cell.

I. Ricardo Martinez, M.D., Ph.D., is Chief of Dermatology at East Jefferson General Hospital. To make an appointment with Dr. Martinez or another physician at EJGH please call HealthFinder at 504-456-5000.

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