All women and almost all men (even if they claim otherwise) love to get a nice tan in the summer. In earlier periods, a suntan was generally associated with common folk, field workers, and people who spend most of their day doing hard labor outside. The nobles and all other people of the upper classes despised this and did everything to make their skin even paler than it already is. Now the tables have turned, and sun-kissed skin is considered far more attractive, and a general indicator of good health.
Because of this, scientists conducted a new study in which they wanted to determine how much sunbathing is actually enough. So far, they have determined that, in order to get darker skin, you need to sunbathe every other day. This is because the skin protective pigment melanin is produced once every 48 hours. The researcher also found out that sunbathing every day can even disrupt the creation process of this pigment, and that is why our skin becomes more susceptible to damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Mice used in the study were shone by a UV-B light at regular intervals of 24, 48, and 72 hours. All of this occurred during a period of 60 days. The focus group that received this treatment every 48 hours developed the darkest skin over this 60-day period.
The main protein in this process is called MITF and it is responsible for much more than just regulating the darkening of our skin. It serves as a defense mechanism as well. As soon as the body is exposed to UV rays for more than a couple of minutes, the MITF starts up the skin’s survival mechanisms. The protein directly influences DNA repair and the recruitment of immune cells to the skin. Only when all of this is finished, does the MITF protein begin the process of melanin production. All this basically means is that if a cell keeps getting exposed to UV rays melanin production stops and the skin loses its protective shield.