True Facts about Tanning Exposed

There are so many facts and fiction popular about tanning. Is it good? Is it bad? What about sunless tanning? Well, let's answer all such questions below. Read on.

* Soft UVB rays make the skin produce Vitamin D - the 'sunshine vitamin' that is vital to healthy bones and strong teeth.

* Excessive exposure to UV rays is always damaging. Burns, eye injuries, premature wrinkling of skin, rashes are common. Pigmented moles leading to skin cancers like melanoma is also not uncommon. The immunity system may weaken with prolonged exposure to UV rays.

* Controlled exposure to sunlight invigorates the body by helping in innumerable bodily functions. Vital nutrients produced as a result of sunlight greatly benefit the immunity system and increase longevity.

* Indoor tanning equipments radiate regulated amounts of UVA and UVB rays in a controlled environment, making them safer than outdoor sun tanning.

* Sunless tanning products that produce the pigment canthaxanthin are dangerous, beware of them. Canthaxanthin deposits yellow pigments throughout the body including the retina, causing eye disorders and injury to the liver.

* Sunless tanning products containing DHA (dihydroxyacetone) are safe as they use the dead cells of the epidermis to change skin color. The reason why this tanning does not stay for longer is that dead skin sheds off quickly.

* Fake tans like bronzers are safest because they don't go deep into the skin.

* Applying a tanning lotion is critical because tanning is a drying process and makes the skin flaky and vulnerable. Tanning lotions with SPF of 8 - 15 help keep off excess UV rays. Care must be taken to ensure that the lotion is a high quality product of a reputed brand.

* Tanning happens in phases. The first phase called Immediate Pigment Darkening does not involve higher production of melanin. It is in direct response to UV rays and depends on various factors like skin type and previous exposure to UV. The second phase called Delayed tanning takes place 48 - 72 hours after exposure and sustains for a week. It is in this phase that melanin is produced in higher quantity. Therefore it is advisable to keep a gap of 48 - 72 hours between successive tanning sessions.

* Taking a shower after tanning does not wash the tan away. The reasons have been explained above.

* Cosmetics, perfumes and deodorants, some topical creams and applications, as well as internal medications like antibiotics can cause photosensitive reactions on the skin when exposed to UV rays. The reaction can be in the form of severe sunburns or rashes.

* Tanning is a natural body process. It is not 'damage'. There is a difference between controlled tanning and sunburns. A sun-burn is when the blood vessels in the skin rupture.