Can getting a tan make you look suddenly slimmer? The American Council on Science and Health sheds more light on this matter here.
In this article:
- What Are Fat Cells?
- Is Tanning to Lose Weight the Answer to Obesity?
- Does Tanning Make You Look Thinner?
- Face and Body Contouring
Suddenly Slimmer | Browning Fat Cells to Help with Weight Loss
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and University of North Carolina have developed a skin patch that enables fat storing white cells to switch to fat burning brown cells. This will no doubt pique the interest of many folks given the tremendous prevalence of obesity.
The patch included micro-needles containing nanoparticles with an experimental drug. It was rosiglitazone and a beta-adrenergic receptor agonist that were used in the research. These compounds promote browning of fat cells. Although there are other clinically available drugs that also induce browning, they can cause negative side effects, including an upset stomach, weight gain, and bone fractures.
These effects are mostly due to how the method of administration often exposing the entire body to the active ingredients. With the micro-needles patch, the medication only reaches the areas it needs to reach.
After some experimentation, medicated mice showed a 20 percent reduction in fat. This is true for both lean and obese mice. Additionally, there was a 20 percent increase in energy consumption and improved fasting blood sugar.
What Are Fat Cells?
There are two different types of fat cells or adipose tissue cells. These types differ in how they process energy.
White Fat Cells
White fat cells are the most common type of fat cells present in your body. Given this, they are the body’s primary reserve of energy. Additionally, these cells act as an insulator for your body. They also help to cushion your vital organs and protect them from physical damage.
White fat cells have many metabolic functions relating to the endocrine system, including helping regulate your appetite. They also play a role in your reproductive health.
Brown Fat Cells
On the other hand, brown fat cells burn and use up energy to generate heat. Many of these cells are found in your upper back and neck. Individuals with a higher percentage of brown fat cells are often younger and have better insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels.
You can encourage the development of more brown fat cells by exercising regularly. Additionally, the quality of your sleep also affects the number of brown fat cells present in your body.
Is Tanning to Lose Weight the Answer to Obesity?
Obesity is one of the world’s biggest and most expensive health problems, accounting for some $210 billion annually. This number is an estimate for healthcare costs alone and still excludes losses in productivity.
These new skin patches can potentially help in alleviating obesity. However, they must first be proven useful, safe, and effective when applied to humans. Presently, the patches have only been tested on mice. At this point, it is still difficult to say whether or not it can work as well when applied to humans.
Another caveat is the authors’ claim of how reducing subcutaneous fat will lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease, which may be deceptive. The National Center for Biotechnology Information argues that it is actually visceral fat that is dangerous to our health and not subcutaneous fat.
The danger of visceral fat is it can occur even in leaner individuals. This type of fat coats vital organs and releases substances such as cytokines, which can cause and aggravate inflammation.
Does Tanning Make You Look Thinner?
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With that said, can tanning help you lose weight? Unfortunately, tanning can’t get the same results as that of the browning patches. This is because tanning only affects the skin’s surface and does not penetrate into the adipose tissue layer.
Your tan will only darken the outer layer of your skin and will wear off once that layer gets sloughed off. Given this, you can’t actually burn off fat cells or the inches off your waist or the cellulite on your hips by laying out in the sun.
Being out in the sun for too long won’t help you with your skin care routine, either. However, it can help with making you appear slimmer. To avoid staying in the sun for an extended period, you can always pay a tanning salon a visit.
Face and Body Contouring
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Applying a fake tan on a regular basis can provide a slimming effect on your appearance and give you an illusion of a slender body. With your self-tanner, you can create contours on your body to give yourself a more toned look. This is great because you can make yourself look suddenly slender, with a tighter and toned body without even lifting at the gym. You can also modify how you apply your bronzer to make your face appear smaller.
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Many believe that being tan makes you look suddenly slimmer, but the question remains whether it can actually help you lose weight. Thanks to fat cell browning, we hope for the possibility of losing weight through these skin patches someday. Once proven safe and effective for humans, you can finally add this tanning technology to your weight loss program. However, it is important to understand the simple act of tanning will not yield the same effects as wearing these brown patches.
Has anyone told you that you looked suddenly slim after getting a tan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on October 17, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.