Safely Tanning (And Other Myths)


How Can I Tan Safely?

If you Google "How to tan," the most popular search that comes up is "How to tan safely." For those that like a healthy glow but also want to maintain healthy skin, many turn to the Internet in hopes of discovering a magical, secret technique or product that allows you to tan without the negative health implications. I hate to burst your bubble, but unfortunately there is no safe way to tan. The only way to keep your skin healthy is to wear sun protection when you're out in the sun. Remember, a tan means your DNA damage, and there is nothing safe about that.

If I'm Darker Skinned, I Don't Need to Wear Sunscreen.

While it's true that darker skin naturally provides more protection, it's not much. Fair skin has low amounts of melanin and naturally has about SPF 3.4. The darker the skin, the more melanin. The melanin in dark skin can provide the equivalent of around SPF 13.4. Anything under SPF 20 doesn't provide enough protection for a day out in the sun, so even if you are darker skinned, it's important to protect yourself when outside (by wearing sunscreen and/or UV wear) and to avoid tanning.

Indoor Tanning Isn't as Dangerous as Outdoor Tanning

Many people think it is the sun itself that causes skin damage and skin cancer. However, it's not the sun, but the UVA and UVB rays. Indoor tanning beds primarily produce UVA radiation, meaning it is just as dangerous as tanning outdoors, if not more dangerous, as UVA radiation goes deeper into the skin. Also, many people who use indoor tanning beds often do so regularly - more often than they would outdoors, especially in winter.

A Base Tan Helps Protect My Skin From Burning

There is a very common misconception out there that a base tan can actually protect your skin from extreme sun rays. As a dermatologist once famously said, "Asking what's a safe amount of tan is kind of like asking how much cyanide do you want in your breakfast." No tan is healthy and a base tan doesn't protect your skin from further damage.

I Need Sun Exposure to Get Enough Vitamin D

Yes, the sun provides your body with Vitamin D, but so does milk, other foods, and vitamins. The fact of the matter is, it's important to protect your skin when outdoors with UV wear and sunscreen. And if you prefer the glow of tan skin, look into a bronzer or sunless tanning lotion.

Author: Melissa Darcey

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