Is Tanning Safe?

Already gearing up for the beach this summer? Time to get a tan?
There are a couple of ways to get that golden brown tan. Go lay out in the sun an hour a day for a few days, or go to a tanning salon and pay to be slowly cooked. The question we will be focusing on is, is tanning, in any form, safe?

How Does It Work

Tanning is the process of skin color darkening to a tan color through the use of the sun or artificial U.V. radiation. Tanning is a very simple process. The sunlight contains two types of ultraviolet (U.V.) radiation called U.V.B. and U.V.A. The U.V.B. light radiation hits the outer skin burning it. U.V.A. radiation penetrates the outer layer of skin to the lower layers. The UVA radiation activates cells deep in the skin called melanocytes and produces the melanin, which changes the pigment of skin to tan.

Tanning is not safe

Ultraviolet rays can cause serious damage because of the radiation. U.V.A. radiation penetrates deep into the skin and begins to break down DNA in lower level skin cells. This destruction can lead to skin cancer and damage the body’s immune system. If skin cancer is not found and treated, it can quickly spread from the skin to other organs in the body. Skin cancer is an epidemic in the United States, with more than 1 million new cases diagnosed every year. Traditionally, skin cancer was found in people of 50 and older. Now, dermatologists are seeing skin cancer in patients as young as early 20’a and late teens. Tanning beds work the same as regular sunlight.

Common Myths About Tanning

One myth about tanning is that indoor or tanning beds do not cause skin cancer. The fact is that there is a correlation between tanning away from the sun and cancer. Another question about tanning is if it causes premature aging of the skin. This is true because the radiation breaks up the DNA and when the DNA tries to reproduce, it is made with sections missing.

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