Does Tanning Protect You From The Sun?

Dangers of Sun Bathing

People have been sun tanning since the dawn of time. Among the first people to sun bathe were the ancient Greeks, who valued the sun for its therapeutic benefits. Man has always relied on the sun for its healing properties. During the 20th century suntanning became popularized as women's fashions starting revealing more and more skin. Women began using tanning oils throughout the 1940s and beyond to create a sun kissed appearance. As two piece bathing suits abounded, so too did women's desire to create a glowing skin tone.

It was only recently, in the late 1970s and early 1980s that researchers began linking excessive sun tanning with skin cancer. At this time many people were hard to convince. Most people had bought the line that sun tanning actually protected the skin from harmful cancer. Even today there are people that believe a suntan is far better for the skin than a burn. In fact, some dare say a suntan is 'healthy'.

While undoubtedly the sun provides us many valuable benefits, skin cancer is not one of them. Since the 1980s the number of people diagnosed with malignant skin cancers has risen substantially. Skin cancer occurs when too much UV radiation penetrates the skin causing free radicals to mutate and cause cancerous changes in cells. IV radiation, whether from the sun or from tanning booths can damage the skin permanently. Here are just a few of the side effects associated with sun tanning:
  1. Frequent tanning can cause premature aging of the skin. A 20 year old with excessively sun-damaged skin can look 30 or older.
  2. Tanning can cause the skin to change. Common changes in the skin include freckles and sunspots.
  3. Tanning results in more superficial and deep wrinkles.
  4. Excessive tanning may contribute to skin cancer. In fact, more than 90 percent of all skin cancers result from too much exposure to UV radiation in the sun.
  5. Tanning excessively over prolonged periods of time can decrease your immune system's ability to combat diseases.
Of course, some women still feel tanning has a lot to offer. The primary benefits reported by women include an improved self-esteem and decreased appearance of cellulite. Fortunately you can reap these benefits using a self tanner rather than from an actual tan. Tanning lotions and related products create a bronzed look without you ever having to step out into the sun. While these fake tans once looked orange and streaky, today's formulas contain milder ingredients that produce a natural glow.

Most self-tanners, when applied properly, will remain on the skin for up to 5 days. You can re-apply them periodically to maintain your tan even through the winter months. Why not enjoy the benefits of a sun kissed tan without risking your health and safety? Even tanning salons across the nation now offer sunless tanning options to health conscious consumers. Sunless Tanning Benefits The biggest benefit of sunless tanning is you get all the benefits of a real tan (improved appearance, healthy glow) without risking excess exposure to UV radiation. Here are some additional benefits sunless tanning has to offer.

  • You can achieve a sunless tan in just a few hours. Some products come with a bronzer that instantly bronzes skin until the tan sets in (usually after 4-8 hours).
  • Products create a natural looking tan from light to dark to match your natural skin tone.
  • Sunless tanning products are safe and do not result in permanent skin changes.
  • Women using sunless tanning products report the same sense of well being sunbathers do after achieving a warm glow.
  • You can tan all year round when you use a sunless tanner.
  • Modern tanning products come in a variety of pleasant fragrances.
  • Sunless tanning products can create the appearance of flawless skin.

The Science Behind Self Tanning
Sunless tanners do not change your skin's DNA. They work very simply by staining the outer layer of the skin. Most sunless tanning lotions contain DHA or a chemical called dihydorxyacetone. This product creates a reaction when applied to the skin, and binds to the skins upper layers. Over the course of a few hours a 'tanned' appearance appears. This artificial tan sheds gradually over the course of a week.

Bronzers aren't quite the same as tanning creams. Bronzers are cosmetic products that provide a temporary glow to the skin. Much like make up, bronzers work well for creating a glowing appearance for an evening out. Once you get home you can wash the bronzer off using a little water and some soap or make up remover.

A tan from the sun itself involves changes in your skin's cells and melatonin production. The sun emits visible and invisible UV rays that penetrate the skin and injure it. In response to this injury the skin produces pigment to help prevent additional damage from the suns rays. Indoor tanning is no safer than tanning under the skin, as the same principles apply. UV radiation penetrates the skin to produce a temporary tan.

Remember your skin has to last you a lifetime. It is important you take precautions to prevent your skin from premature aging and cancer. Using a self-tanning cream is far safer than tanning outdoors or in a booth any day. The only safe tan is a fake tan.