Tanning after vaccination for COVID-19

Tanning after vaccination for COVID-19

Want to take full advantage of the beautiful weather, but not sure if you can sunbathe after being vaccinated for COVID-19? Scientists warn to avoid exposure to sunlight after both the vaccine and the disease.

How do you protect yourself from them and what are the reasons for these recommendations? We are already explaining!

The impact of the sun versus COVID-19

There have been reports in the scientific world that sunlight has the ability to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Paolo Luzzatto-Fegiz – an engineer at the University of California, Santa Barbara – cites his team’s research, which showed that SARS-CoV-2 is three times more sensitive to the UV radiation of sunlight than the influenza A virus. Moreover, during the experiment, 90% of the coronavirus particles were inactivated after half an hour of exposure to sunlight.

It is worth noting that the experiment took place in the summer, in the afternoon, while in winter the virus can remain intact for days. So, since there is a chance that UV radiation kills the virus, why the recommendations that it is better to shy away from the sun after vaccination or after an infection has passed?

Why is sunbathing after the COVID-19 vaccine inadvisable?

In early June, a public awareness campaign “Smile in the sun” dedicated to skin cancer prevention was launched in Italy. The authors of the campaign, the organization Dermopathic Institute of the Immaculate Conception of Rome-Ircss and the company Idi-Farmaceutici, also included in the campaign preventive measures that should be taken by people recently vaccinated or cured of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

As the institute’s dermatologist Dr. Luca Fania explains, prolonged exposure to sunlight or tanning after vaccination is very dangerous for these people. When infected with the coronavirus, hives, a rash similar to chicken pox and even vascular dysfunction or inflammation can occur. The vaccine also causes erythema, hives or other skin reactions in some cases. Such weakened skin is far more susceptible to harmful UV radiation and, as a result, also to oxidative stress, causing cancers on the arms, neck or torso. Therefore, people vaccinated and treated with COVID-19 should gradually expose themselves to sunlight and take the necessary protective measures.

Read: Vaccination an opportunity for collective immunity

How to protect yourself from the sun?

  • Avoid going outside during peak hours – High-energy UV rays transform into ionizing radiation, which can lead to DNA damage in skin cells. That’s why Dr. Luca Fania advises, first of all, to avoid going outside during the hours when the sun is most dangerous, which is roughly from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. And if you must go out at this time, opt for clothing with long sleeves and legs, and wear a hat to protect your face.
  • Use sunscreen – Going out in the sun after a COVID vaccination? In this case, stock up on creams with high protection of at least 30 SPF – this is very important. The higher the filter, the stronger the safety it provides. Also pay attention that the product protects against both UVB and UVA rays. Match the cream to your skin’s sensitivity – sunscreens may contain chemical filters or natural ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which reflect ultraviolet rays. Be sure to apply the product before you leave the house each time you go out – after all, UV rays get through even the clouds. If you’re going to spend most of the day outside, apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours.
  • Oral photoprotectors – COVID and the sun? Oral sunscreen products are also a good option. These are products containing polyphenols, selected vitamins, carotenoids or minerals that have photoprotective properties (e.g. lycopene, b-carotene, lutein, astaxanthin, vitamins C, E, B3). These substances increase the body’s antioxidant resistance to harmful UV radiation.

If you are post-vaccination for COVID-19, or if the disease is behind you, at least for a few weeks refrain from sunbathing, plan gradual sun exposure and use sunscreen. And if in doubt, consult a dermatologist and together develop a personalized action plan.


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