What is Tan Skin?
When a person spends time in the sun, their skin attempts to protect itself from sun damage-it starts to tan. Many people like the way tanned skin looks and think of it as a healthy glow. Sun damage can cause all kinds of skin problems, including premature aging, damage to the eyes, and even skin cancer. Over-the-counter self-tanning products, such as sprays, lotions and pills, are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it would seem that the safest option is to stick with your pale skin.
When your skin is exposed to the radiation of the sun’s UV rays, it responds by creating melanin, which is a dark substance that is meant to keep the body from taking in too many harmful sunrays, which can damage your skin. The sun produces two different types of harmful rays: UVA and UVB. You’ll find that UVB rays are shining down on you all year round, whereas UVA rays are present in warmer weather only. Although UVA rays are considered to be the safer of the two, they can still cause damage to the skin. In fact, both types of rays can be harmful if exposed to large quantities.
What are the Tanning Bed Facts and Controversies?
Indoor tanning isn’t without risks. In fact, they can expose your skin to an even higher rate of harmful UV rays than regular old sun. Some tanners feel that tanning beds are a safe alternative to catching sun rays, but since tanning beds also produce UV radiation and users are lying down in a bed to get these rays, they are thought to be more dangerous. Tanning beds produce UVA rays most of the time, but they can also sometimes produce UVB rays. As mentioned before, tanning beds can damage your skin just like the sun.
Other issues with tanning beds can be that they can cause eye damage. Frequent tanning bed users who do not wear goggles are highly susceptible. Skin cancer and accelerated aging are also major risks. Most experts feel that tanning beds should be avoided
Although you receive much of your needed vitamin D from the sun, you only need to spend 15 minutes a day in the sun to get what you need and you can do this while protecting your skin by wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeves, hats and sunglasses and by wearing sunscreen.
Does Tanning Really Speed Up Wrinkles?
Tanning does speed up the aging process, producing wrinkles sooner than you may have developed them if you had taken better care of your skin. According to the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), there is no healthy tan. They also suggest that your body’s aging process is accelerated each time you tan. Tanning eventually causes your skin to take on a leathery, dry and shriveled look that is not very appealing.
Recent research has shown that just one blistering sunburn can double your chances of developing melanoma later in life. Melanoma is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 25 and 30 from cancer. It is the second leading cause of death in women between the ages of 30 and 35.
Another thing to remember is that everyone, no matter their skin type or hair color, is at risk for developing skin cancer. Both men and women are also at equal risk. Skin cancer can strike any part of the body, so take care of your skin. It’s the only one you’ve got! Wear protective clothing. Use sunscreen and opt for the shade whenever possible. You’re not invisible. Don’t try to live your life like you are!
What are the Harmful Effects of Tanning?
We’ve talked a lot about the harmful effects of tanning in the sun and using tanning beds, but there are other self-tanners to consider as well. Sunless tanning sprays contain color additives that interact with your skin’s natural chemistry. This causes your skin to look darker. There is only one FDA-approved chemical for this use and it is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). It is approved for external use only. If you are concerned about whether or not your over-the-counter self-tanning product is okay to use, you can check the ingredients for DHA. DHA products are virtually risk-free with most reactions being allergic and no risk of skin cancer. Do not use these types of products in place of sunscreen.
Tanning pills contain color additives that promise to tan your skin. Again, these pills are not approved by the FDA and are generally not available for purchase in the United States. Some people have reported health problems from using such pills. Health problems associated with tanning pills include eye and kidney problems. Tanning pills typically contain the pigment canthaxanthin, which is also found in carrots.