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Study: Sun tanning may be kind of good for you

Soaking up the sun is one the most relaxing summertime activities.

Some sun exposure can do you good. Some sun exposure can do you good.

Soaking up the sun is one the most relaxing summertime activities. With the sun come certain health risks. We lather our bodies in SPF to avoid painful burns and ultimately skin cancer.

Despite the negative side effects of sun tanning, there are some benefits to sun exposure.

The news comes as the Food and Drug Administration proposes tighter regulations for tanning beds, saying UV-based sun lamps can boost the risk of melanoma by 75 percent.

Dermatologists at the University of Edinburgh put 24 volunteers all in their early 20s under tanning lamps. One group was under the lamp for 20 minutes and was exposed to UV and heat lamps. In the other group the UV rays were blocked.

Following each session, the dermatologists measured the volunteers’ blood. The results indicate that sunlight lowers blood pressure, which decreases risk of blood disease. The subjects with the UV-lamps saw a decrease of 2 mmHg in their bloog pressure, which lasted for approximately one hour.

The subjects in the heat-lamp only session did not see a change in their blood pressure.

The researches determined that the decreased blood pressure may offset the risk of skin cancer. According to the study, heart disease and stroke linked to high blood pressure result in 80 times more deaths in the United Kingdom than skin cancer.

Researchers say they will need to do more research to confirm this conclusion.

“We now plan to look at the relative risks of heart disease and skin cancer in people who have received different amounts of sun exposure,” said Dr. Richard Weller, the leader of the research team. “If this confirms that sunlight reduces the death rate from all causes, we will need to reconsider our advice on sun exposure.”

So for the time being, soak up the sun.

Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant

 
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