Today I have a guest post from Samantha, a medical skin care therapist out of Arizona! Check out the safe tanning recommendations below and thank you Samantha!
After a very cold, harsh winter and with spring just around the corner, millions of Americans are itching to sprawl out under the warmth of the sun to acquire a tan. North Americans consider a deep suntan a crown of glory for good looks and people go to great lengths to obtain bronzed skin.
However, there are numerous dangers to sun ray overexposure and those dangers are growing due to factors such as weakening protective shields surrounding the earth and artificial tanning technologies.
Dangers of Sun Ray Overexposure
The sun’s warmth is produced by ultraviolet (UV) rays of light which affect the skin in various ways. Healthy skin fibers provide elasticity as well as protect underlying tissue from extensive damage such as tearing and bruising. UV rays damage these fibers causing a compromise in the skin’s elasticity and protective qualities.
When skin is overexposed to UV radiation, it begins to break down resulting in sagging and stretching. When skin is exposed to long or intense periods of UV radiation, it develops wrinkles (elastosis), mottled pigmentation (discolored patches), freckles, yellow discoloration (sallowness) and blood vessel dilation (telangiectasias) as well as pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesion development.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma cases have increased dramatically over the past 40 years. The most significant rise in melanoma has occurred in those 18 to 39 years old with an 800 percent increase in women and a 400 percent increase in men. Although men are generally more susceptible to skin cancer, the higher case increase in women is attributed to tanning bed use. Lack or under use of sunscreen is another large contributing factor for those seeking tans from direct sunlight.
Dangers of Tanning Beds
Tanning bed use has increased dramatically over the years because they provide tans rapidly. Teens in particular are using tanning beds at the rate of 2.5 million every year. The problem with tanning beds is that they emit much greater amounts of UV radiation than the sun, as much as 15 times more.
Also, artificial tanning beds emit high portions of UVA rays which penetrate and damage the underlying dermal-epidermal layers of skin where they cause DNA damage. This damage creates abnormal cell growth which is the beginning of melanoma skin cancer.
Most people understand that sunburns damage the skin. However, what most people do not realize is that tanned skin has been damaged as well and can lead to skin cancer over time. A recent study conducted by JAMA Dermatology revealed that cases of skin cancer have surpassed those of lung cancer due to cigarette smoking. The majority of those skin cancer cases have been attributed to tanning bed use.
Safe Tanning Alternatives
It is highly recommended by various skincare specialists to completely avoid using indoor tanning beds. Those who seek to sunbath under the open skies should regularly apply a sunscreen of 30 SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to all skin that is exposed to the sun’s radiation. Sunscreen should also be ‘broad-spectrum’ meaning it protects from both UVA and UVB ultraviolet radiation and it should be reapplied after sweating and swimming as well as every two hours. Installing sun shades in the home is another easy way to cut down on unwanted UV light from affecting your skin when you feel you’ve already tanned too much.
Sunless tanning sprays and lotions are the safest methods for obtaining a tan without the risks of skin cancer. Although such products only dye the surface skin cells and need to be reapplied every few days, they will keep your skin healthier and younger looking as well as free from the ravages of cancer.
Samantha McKenzie is a medical aesthetician from Tucson, Arizona. She loves helping people get the skin they’re always dreamed of!