What is tanning?

Tanning is the skin's reaction to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. When skin is exposed to UV rays, cells called melanocytes produce the brown pigment melanin, which darkens the cells of the epidermis. This darkening of the skin cells is the skin's natural – if imperfect – defense against further damage from UV radiation.

Is tanning bad for you?

The sun's UV rays damage the DNA of the skin's epidermal cells, triggering enzymes that race to repair the damage. However, these enzymes do not always repair the DNA successfully, and all this unrepaired damage can lead to mutations that increase the risk of skin cancer. Also, repeated unprotected sun exposure can cause photoaging – wrinkles, sagging skin, and spots associated with sun damage.

Does all UV radiation harm my skin?

Scientists divide the solar UV spectrum into three wavelengths - UVA, UVB and UVC. Once, UVA and UVC were thought harmless, and only UVB was believed dangerous. UVC is still deemed no threat, since it is absorbed by the ozone layer. But UVA accounts for up to 95 percent of solar UVR reaching Earth. Though far less capable of causing sunburn than UVB, UVA is present during all daylight hours year round, while the amount of UVB in sunlight varies by season, location and time of day.

By the 1990's, scientists knew that UVA exacerbates the cancer-causing effects of UVB, and is the main wavelength behind photoaging. Recently, an Australian-U.S. study found that UVA may be more carcinogenic than UVB. It penetrates more deeply and causes more genetic damage in the skin cells (keratinocytes) where most skin cancers arise. The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization now designate both UVA and UVB as causes of cancer.

Doesn't the melanin acquired through tanning actually protect my skin?
Darker skin does offer greater protection than light skin against sunburn and skin cancer. However, that applies only to people with naturally darker skin. Tanning, like sunburns, attacks the skin's DNA, producing genetic defects that may cause skin cancer.

Isn't getting sunburned more dangerous than getting tan?

Both are dangerous, because both result from DNA damage to the skin cells. It is true that sunburn has been directly linked to melanoma – one blistering sunburn more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life. It is usually thought that lifetime sun exposure is responsible for increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma, while both intense, intermittent sun exposure – the pattern that is traditionally linked to melanoma – and lifetime exposure are believed to be involved in the development of basal cell carcinoma. However, studies have also shown a marked increase in melanoma incidence in people who have developed either squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. Scientists are still trying to determine the exact exposure pattern behind the development of the different types of skin cancer, but it is safe to say that both burning and tanning play major roles in skin cancer.

Are tanning beds safer?

Tanning salon owners say tanning machines are safer than outdoor tanning for two reasons: 1) they mainly use UVA rays, and 2) they offer more "controlled" UV exposure. However, we know now that UVA is a carcinogen, and studies have revealed that tanning salons frequently exceed "safe" UV limits. Study after study has shown that sunbed tanning increases the risk of both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers.

The facts bear out: There is no such thing as a safe tan. However, there are safe alternatives in sunless tanners. Being informed about how to protect yourself from unwanted sun exposure is the best defense against skin cancer and photoaging.

Safer Tanning Options for Sun Goddesses

Use these safe tanning tips to sun tan safely in the glorious sunshine. Take special care of your skin against the potential dangers of sun damage.

Besides sun tanning, consider other tanning options available to help you achieve that glorious golden tan.

There are 3 ways to achieve a tan:

Sun Tanning

Salon Tanning

Fake Tanning

Let's look at each of them in greater details.


So if you are heading for the beach, don’t forget your sun block in addition to your shades, your towel and your sandals. This is the first and most important sun tanning tip.

Studies have shown a strong correlation between sun tanning and skin cancer. More and more people are being diagnosed with the disease.

Contrary to popular misconception, there is no such thing as a “healthy tan”. Tanning is, in essence, the skin’s reaction to damage already done, and a defensive attempt to protect itself from further harm.

The sun’s ultraviolet rays are the most threatening component of a natural suntan.

Two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, negatively affect the skin by deeply penetrating our skin and potentially damage gene composition.

UVA rays is the predominant type and tends to cause skin cancer after prolonged periods of time.

Sunburn and the redness associated with sun exposure result from UVB rays, which are also a strong risk factor for skin cancer.


If you simply cannot avoid going out in the sun on a gorgeous day, read the following safe sun tanning tips carefully.

onsider using a sun block with a low SPF. This will still allow tanning, but the skin will receive at least a small degree of protection from the powerful rays.

Be especially cautious when in or on the water, as the sun may badly burn the skin without any warning signs.

Hats and t-shirts can provide a degree of protection when one is enjoying the weather, playing sports or simply relaxing on a nice day.

Some individuals should exercise extreme caution when exposed to the sun, including those with very fair skin, those who burn often or tan poorly, those who have many freckles or moles, those under age 16, and those who have a history of skin cancer themselves or in the family history.

Even if these conditions do not apply to you personally, it is still very important to be smart about your own exposure to the sun.

Apply sun block before you go into the sun and before you dress, to ensure that you don’t miss any areas.

Gradually build up the time you spend in the sun. Never be tempted to burn – it’s a sign of skin damage.

Stay out of the sun between 12 noon and 3 o’clock when the sun is at its hottest. Move into the shade or cover up with a T-shirt and broad-brimmed hat.

If you’re playing a lot of sports or swimming, choose a special sports formula or waterproof formulation.

Lips need a good lip screen to protect them from burning and chapping.

Like skincare ranges, there are hypoallergenic suncare products around, so ask at your pharmacist.


Personal tanning methods available today attempt to eliminate the UV rays from coming in contact with the skin, yet you have to wonder how safe you are when shutting yourself in a tiny tanning booth for 30 minutes at a time!

Popularity of tanning beds tends to soar as teens strive for the prom-perfect hue and women of all ages aim to avoid the pasty white complexions they suffered long enough through the winter.

Though they are thought to be only slightly more protective than getting a natural tan due to the controlled environment, risks are still associated with tanning beds as the exposure to UV rays is still present.

Do you know there is a recommended allotment of time that one should not exceed in the course of a year when using a tanning bed?

According to the British Photodermatology Group (BPG-a branch of the British Association of Dermatologists), one should not surpass 10 sets of 30-minute sessions twice a year, or in other words, 10 hours of exposure per year.

Have you exceeded this recommended amount of sun exposure?


The safest tan of all is one that comes out of a bottle. There are 3 main ways to fake a tan:

Bronzing Powders

Wash-off tanners

Self Tanners


Use powders on your face in the same way as a blusher. Make sure that the one you use is not peralized, or you’ll really shimmer in the sunshine.


This is the simplest way to create an instant tan on your face and body. You simply smooth on the cream and then wash it away at the end of the day.


A safer method of tanning than sun tanning and visits to the salon, self-tanning products have taken leaps and bounds in technology-far beyond the “orange tone” so many worry about experiencing.

Self-tanning products come in several forms-lotions, gels, wipes, sprays, and now, even a pill! The pill stimulates the pigment to change without any exposure to the sun, which is actually thought to be a positive preventive alternative to harmful sun exposure.

For those who still enjoy the trip to the salon but don’t feel the need to visit a tanning bed, a new tanning-spray treatment is available at some salons. It is quick, about a 30 second application with instant results.

All of these tanning options involve the active ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA.), which is absorbed by the surface skin cells and turns brown in the presence of oxygen – which creates the “tan”. This process usually takes three to four hours, and the effects last until these skin cells are naturally shed – which can be from a few days up to a week. Self tanners are acceptable alternatives to the real thing.

Many of the products available also contain moisturizers and vitamins to help the skin remain healthy and soft while not exposing the body to any UV rays. Looking for some fake tanning products? Click here and type in “fake tanning” in the search box to search for what you are need.

Here are some self tanning tips for your consideration:

Use a body scrub first to rub away the dead flaky skin that can soak up colour and create a patchy finish.

Massage in plenty of body lotion over the area to be treated. This will combat any remaining dry areas and give a smooth surface on which to apply the tanning lotions.

If there’s a shade choice, go with the lighter one, because you can always apply a second layer later on.

Work the product firmly into the skin until it feels completely dry. Any excess left on the surface is likely to go patchy.

If you’ve applied self tanner to your body, wipe areas that don’t normally tan with damp cotton wool pads (cotton balls) – armpits, nipples, soles of feet and fingers. On the face, work the cotton wool around the eyebrows, hairline and jawline.

While there are self-tanning products that offer some protection from the sun until you wash your skin, it’s best to use them in conjunction with the best sunscreen for your skin type.

Even with an artificially produced tan, it is vital to practice protective measures to prevent sun damage. A simple sun block will do, in addition to monitoring your exposure to the sun.

No matter which tanning option you settle for if you simply must have that glowing tan, use caution when you bask in the rays at the shore or wherever.

Keep these important safe tanning tips in mind whenever you are exposed to the sun for a significant duration of time:

Do your best to avoid falling asleep while tanning. We all know how tempting it is to take that relaxing nap to the sounds of the surf, but you could wake up fried to a painful crisp!

Even if you are determined to go home with some color, try a very low SPF level sunscreen. Something as low as SPF15 will do more good for your skin than bare exposure!

When you do experience sunburn, keep aloe and cocoa butter on hand. Aloe is known to soothe the skin, while cocoa butter helps in keeping skin soft and smooth while also repairing it and preventing peeling after sun damage.

Isabella ♥

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    Anonymous said...

    nice one

  1. ... on January 18, 2009 at 5:12 PM