With the winter approaching and temperatures dropping outside, sun tanning might seem a tempting idea. Basking in the sun on a beach with waves hitting the shores might be a great way to sidestep the winter.
Tanning indoors can be an appealing prospect to the lazy limbs wanting to avoid the weather altogether.
While tanning is a trendsetter in 2017 and enjoyable for Americans and Europeans alike questions still remain regarding the health hazards of exposing yourself to the Sun.
Skin tanning, although restricted and ill-advised by medics the activity has soared in popularity over the years.
Tanning is confusing subject, with facts and myths both buried together we try to uncover the truth from the plethora of stories on the internet and get you honest facts on the controversial topic.
What is Sun Tanning? What types of tanning are there?
Tanning or a tan is essentially the browning of the skin by exposing bare skin to the sun or by other artificial methods. Tanning can be categorized into a sun-tan and sunless tan.
Sunless tan includes using beds and booths, lotions, airbrushing etc.
Where did tanning originate from?
In the older times when Western Europe and America economy were mostly based on farming and cultivation, tans were considered a symbol of poverty and fair skin was held in high status.
Whiter skin meant you could make others work for you as you stayed inside.
This belief was shattered during the industrial revolution. The poor and socially backward labors moved inside in factories. The middle class began to take into offices.
Only the rich could go outside for vacations and afford to get tans and soon enough the middle class copied the look. Having a tan meant you are rich enough to take vacations.
The idea of getting a tan has since been a fashion statement. Today people get spray tans, sun tans, facial surgeries and even more aggressive extent to dawn the darker tint.
Is sun tanning bad for you?
In short, YES, just ten indoor radiation sessions in two weeks is enough to destroy your cancer-fighting immune system and if that’s not enough, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause structural damage including wrinkles age spots and many more.
In the United States over 410,000 cases of skin cancer have been blamed on tanning beds, 6000 plus of which are known to be melanoma cancer.
Skin damage and cancer risks aside, tanorexia or addiction to tanning is a common problem for the enthusiasts. Studies have shown people addicted to tanning being more likely to suffer from anxiety and mood swings.
Although tanning salons may advertise indoor tanning as a remedy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it is nothing more than misleading.
UV light in tanning beds is not an element to light therapy. Light therapy requires eye contact, not UV.
How much is sun tanning safe?
The safe limit for sun tanning depends on the sun, it’s positioning, time of the day and intensity of sunlight all factor in. Sporadic intense exposure to the sun can be disastrous for your skin.
Sun tanning is never safe but if you increase UV exposure over a period of time and moderate the UV radiation, the side effects can be minimized.
Fairer skin is more sensitive to light and cannot protect itself for long. In very fair-skinned people UV radiation becomes harmful in just 5-10 minutes.
Benefits of Sun Tanning
It’s not all blue for the sun seekers! Some health agencies claim sun tanning and improved appearance and enhanced overall mood.
Sun rays are a rich source of vitamin D and have been an argument and excuse for many toxins. Sunlight has been believed to elevate mood and energy levels as well.
A report in 2007 found that over 80% adults believed tanning has improved their appearance. Sun tanning removes dirt, exfoliates clogged pores and even helps prevent acne and other skin diseases.
Types of Skin
Maximum amount of time
5 to 10 minutes
10 to 20 minutes
15 to 25 minutes
20 to 30 minutes
Sun tanning tips for fair skin- what to do, and not to do
Despite numerous health efforts to educate the masses on the dangers of sun tanning and protection against UV rays, over 30 million people tan indoors and outdoors in the USA. While the craze keeps rising, if you are into Sun tan here are some things you can do to get the most out of your time.
- Avoid sunbeds. While staying indoors and tanning on a sunbed might be tempting. The myth spread by salons that a sunbed can get you a healthy tan are nothing but a hoax. Virtually no UV ray can give you healthy tan without the hazards.
- Apply the right sunscreen. Don’t just put your hopes on SPF, look for the term broad spectrum or UVA logo plus high on the bottle. We recommend using La Roche-Posay Anthelios.
- Understand the best time to tan for you and always carry sunglasses in your sessions. Everyone’s skin has a tanning time after which skin cannot produce enough melanin (tanning pigment), so it's useless strolling around the beach or laying in front of a pool all day.
- Taking occasional breaks from the sun will ensure your tan is healthier and longer lasting. Tan accelerating sunscreens don’t make any difference. No matter how hard you try no cream can improve melanin production in the skin.
- Have a sun-friendly diet. There are some foods that are known to increase lycopene, skin’s SPF. Antioxidants found in red tomatoes and oranges can increase sun protection by a massive 33%. Other foods like green tea and flavonoid-rich dark chocolate are great for protecting against sunburn.
- Sun tanning with tattoos is the worst thing that can happen to your body art. UV rays can harm your tattoo by fading it or even destroying the design. If you have a tattoo on your body make sure to cover the entire tattoo area with the highest SPF sunblock possible. Moisturize your skin after each tanning session to avoid losing bits of skin that can slowly drain tattoo ink.
There is no doubt tanning can make your skin stand out and look better in the crowd. The temptation of sitting under the sun beside a pool is the ultimate vacation experience.
We can’t do much on the rising popularity of beaches and sun seekers. When on a beach tanning make sure to follow the guidelines above for better experience and less harm.
Use some popular home-made lotion ideas and take care of your skin whenever necessary. Tanning can be an amazing experience, just be a bit more careful to stay safer from the UV rays.