Does your summer schedule include spending long hours at the beach getting tanned? Or maybe you intend to get a tan the easy way – in a booth, from a sun lamp or tanning bed?
Whatever way you get a tan, know that tanning is not good for your skin and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer.”
Want to know more facts about tans and tanning? Read on:
A Tan Does Not Protect You Against Sunburn
Yes, regardless of what the tanning industry and other media outlets tell you, a tan is not a good way to protect yourself from sunburn. In this article on tanning, Dr. Stephen Wang, says, “…the tanning industry’s message that a tan offers protection against sunburn is irresponsible and dangerous.” Yes, a tan may provide protection but it is SUCH a miniscule amount that you can’t substitute it for sunscreen and proper UVA and UVB protection.
Tanning Can Cause Damage to Your DNA
Yes, that’s right. Prolonged exposure to UV rays has been linked to DNA damage. Dr. Wang writes, “What is even more alarming is new research revealing the mechanisms and triggers for melanogenesis (the proliferation of melanocytes, the pigment cells where melanoma forms) and tanning due to UV exposure. UV harms the skin cells’ DNA.” Scary, huh?
Indoor Tanning Is No Better
So, if you don’t get a tan naturally but on a tanning bed, is that better?
Um, NO its worse!
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency of Research on Cancer panel has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).”
So, getting a tan using a lamp, bed or booth is not going to help either. In fact, studies have linked indoor tanning to increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, premature skin aging, eye damage, suppression of the immune system and also, an addiction to tanning.
Sun- Safe Tan Options
So, can you get that bronzed look without harming your skin cells? Actually you can. According to Dr. Patrice Hyde in KidsHealth , sunless self-tanners are a safe way to give yourself that tanned glow. You can either get it in a bottle or choose a salon that offers you airbrush tanning. With both options, however, you need to wear sunscreen and protect your skin from the sun as you normally would.
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Disclaimer: The article is not intended to replace medical advice and is strictly for informational purposes.
Photo Credit: Evil Erin