Healthy Tanning

Jacqueline Rosenhek

June 26 2018

Summer is finally here and that means going outside, soaking up some sun and getting a bit bronzed! We all love to get a little tanned in the summer and glow a bit, but it is very important to remember how to tan safely. While getting super bronzed can be very flattering, it can also be very harmful for your skin if you aren’t careful. For one thing, you could get sunburned. A sunburn is one of the most obvious signs of UV exposure which results in redness, pain and eventually skin peeling. When UV rays reach your skin, they damage cells in the epidermis. In response, your immune system increases blood flow to the affected areas causing redness and sensitivity. In the case of sunburn, you could always treat it with some aloe vera gel and by remaining out of the sun as much as possible. Getting sunburn, just once every 2 years, can increase your risk of melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma, also known as malignant melanoma, is a type of cancer that develops from the pigment-containing cells known as melanocytes. The primary cause of melanoma is ultraviolet light (UV) exposure. The UV light may be from either the sun or from other sources, such as tanning beds.  About 25% develop from moles. Those with many moles or who have had family members suffer from melanoma, and who have poor immune function are at greater risk.

Early signs of melanoma are changes to the shape or color of existing moles. Signs that your mole may be cancerous would be if it were asymmetrical, if the colour or size changes, if the diameter is greater than 6 mm and if it is firm to the touch. There are, thankfully, ways you could achieve a little bit of a sun kissed glow on your skin without doing much damage at all. First of all, avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds produce large amounts of UVA and virtually no UVB (which at least stimulates vitamin D), and can increase your risk of skin cancer by a lot as well as prematurely aging skin. It is also very important to apply sunscreen when you go out into the sun, even if there are clouds in the sky. It is also very important to take some time out from the sun, not only to prevent any skin damage, but to prevent heat stroke as well. Taking breaks from the sun will reduce UV intensity as well as your sunburn risk which means your tan will be healthier and longer-lasting. It is also a good idea to opt for some supplements as opposed to tanning creams to add some extra glow. Supplements that contain a lot of beta carotene will help you achieve a bit of extra colour in your skin without putting harmful chemicals on. It doesn’t mean you need less sunscreen, but it boosts skin’s natural defence against UV by improving its ability to tan.


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