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Why You Shouldn’t Worry About a Winter Tan

If you’re a person who loves to have bronzed skin year-round and dreads the wintertime when the daylight hours are shorter, it’s time to reprioritize. The myth that a tan equates to a “healthy glow” is anything but accurate. Instead, that “glow” is evidence of DNA injury to the skin. In fact, excessive sun exposure and spending time in tanning booths damages the skin and increases your skin of skin cancer.

This is what’s at stake when you tan:

  • Your health: 1 in 5 Americans develops skin cancer by the age of 70. On a global scale, more people get skin cancer from indoor tanning than those who get lung cancer from smoking.
  • Your appearance: Sun damage may look fashionable for a while, but over time it accelerates damage from wrinkles, causes dark spots, and “leathery” skin. For those who develop skin cancer, particularly melanoma, there are often further and unsightly skin changes.

Point blank, there is no safe amount of tanning. Period.

Why Is Tanning Dangerous?

Tanning is dangerous because once the skin starts to tan, it has already been damaged by ultraviolet (UV) rays. In fact, it’s these UV rays that cause sunburn, and sunburns do more damage than just causing fleeting pain. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one blistering sunburn can double a person’s lifetime risk of melanoma, a deadly skin cancer.

Lying in a tanning bed is no less dangerous than sunbathing, either. Research from The Skin Cancer Foundation states how using a tanning booth even once before age 35increases your risk of melanoma by 75%. Melanoma is a serious and painful type of skin cancer. You may even experience skin disfigurement if your dermatologist must remove multiple skin tumors. Your best bet to avoiding skin cancer is to forego tanning at all costs.

Is it Safe to Get a “Base Tan” to Avoid Sunburns?

The safety of getting a so-called base tan is a myth, plain and simple. You may have heard that it’s safer to get a tan ahead of a tropical vacation and soak up the sun’s rays so you won’t get burned on your trip. Plus, having a darker complexion/more melanin in your skin is not a barrier against skin damage. However, fairer (paler) skin is more prone to burn.

What Are the Safe Alternatives to Sunbathing or Using Tanning Booths?

If you’re set on getting a tan, there are non-skin-damaging alternatives. There are plenty of sunless options that can bronze your skin, such as spray tanning or tanning lotions and foams. These products stain the skin temporarily, and when professionally applied, they look exactly like a real suntan.

What Is a Safe Amount of Sun Exposure?

Of course, it’s impossible to spend your life indoors 100% of the time, so that leads to the question: What can you do to stay healthy in the sun? You can stay out of the sun when it is at its most intense, which is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in most areas of the country. If you must be outside during this time, make sure to use sunscreen liberally. The appropriate amount of sun protection factor (SPF) for sunscreen is 30 to protect against UV radiation, and sunscreen should be reapplied every 2-3 hours, and more often if you sweat, swim, or rub your skin.

Using a combination of protective methods gives you the best chance at keeping your skin healthy, such as wearing protective clothing, including dark, tightly woven fabrics with long sleeves and a wide brim hat.

Naturally Pale Skin Is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of!

If you have a naturally fair complexion, you shouldn’t feel as though you are unfashionable. Fads come and go, and pale skin used to be in vogue, whereas tanning is falling out of fashion. You shouldn’t risk your health just to be fashionable. Remember, a “healthy glow” is a myth, and you are perfectly healthy if your skin is naturally fairer than others’.

To schedule an appointment with Advanced Dermatology Center, call (818) 284-4003 today or contact us online for a speedy reply.