How Tanning Happens
The sun's rays contain two types of ultraviolet radiation that reach your skin: UVA and UVB. UVB radiation burns the upper layers of skin (the epidermis), causing sunburns.
UVA radiation is what makes people tan. UVA rays penetrate to the lower layers of the epidermis, where they trigger cells called melanocytes (pronounced: mel-an-oh-sites) to produce melanin. Melanin is the brown pigment that causes tanning.
Melanin is the body's way of protecting skin from burning. Darker-skinned people tan more deeply than lighter-skinned people because their melanocytes produce more melanin. But just because a person doesn't burn does not mean that he or she is also protected against skin cancer and other problems.
Who tans indoors?
On an average day in the United States, more than 1 million people tan in tanning salons.1
Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and women, primarily aged 16 to 29 years.2
Nearly 28 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens.3,4
In 2010, the indoor tanning industry’s revenue is estimated to be $2.6 billion.5
Negatives Of Sun Tanning Alternatives
In tanning booths, UV radiations are high, as the radiations are required to be taken while standing. Hence, they bring along a lot of fatal diseases like cancer, affect the eyes and can lead to other diseases associated with UV radiation.
Tanning bed is similar to putting yourself in an oven to achieve a tan that is similar to the tan by rays of sun. It works by generating UVA and UVB radiation that helps the body release more melanin in the skin. It is a little less effective, as one cannot take it for a longer duration. Moreover, it can lead to numerous eye problems and premature aging and also has the capability to diminish the immune system too.
Tanning amplifiers like creams and oil work with sun to be more effective. They too have adverse effects on skin, as they aid the skin in getting more UV rays into the skin, thus increasing skin cancer.
What are people�s motives for tanning?
Why do people desire a tan? In general, most people are concerned about their appearance. It can be assumed that people desire to be considered beautiful by others and to have more pleasant features. The stereotypical good-looking person is usually a thin female or muscularly built male with nice, clean hair and bronze or tan skin. In recent years there has been a tremendous amount of pressure placed upon females, especially teenagers, to become what the media considers to be a beautiful person. All this explains why more white female teens are using tanning equipment with disregard to medical warnings.
Exposure to UV, either naturally from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps, is a known risk factor for skin cancer. Short-wavelength UVB (280-315 nm) has been recognized for some time as carcinogenic in experimental animals, and there is increasing evidence that longer-wavelength UVA (315-400 nm) used in sunbeds, which penetrates more deeply into the skin, also contributes to the induction of cancer. A study conducted in Norway and Sweden showed a significant increase in the risk of malignant melanoma among women who had regularly used sunbeds.
Additional exposure to UV from sunbeds is likely to enhance the well-known detrimental consequences of excessive solar UV exposure. There is no evidence to suggest that UV exposure from any type of sunbed is less harmful than UV exposure from the sun. Pre-cancerous actinic keratoses and Bowen’s disease have also been found in sunlight-protected but sunbed exposed skin in fair-skinned users after just two to three years of regular sunbed use.
Exposure to the sun causes:
pre-cancerous (actinic keratosis) and cancerous (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma) skin lesions, caused by loss of the skin’s immune function
fine and coarse wrinkles
discolored areas of the skin, called mottled pigmentation;
sallowness—a yellow discoloration of the skin;
telangiectasias—the dilation of small blood vessels under the skin;
elastosis—the destruction of the elastic tissue causing lines and wrinkles.
What it is:
There is no such thing as a safe tan. The increase in skin pigment, called melanin, which causes the tan color change in your skin is a sign of damage.
Why it happens:
Once skin is exposed to UV radiation, it increases the production of melanin in an attempt to protect the skin from further damage. Melanin is the same pigment that colors your hair, eyes, and skin. The increase in melanin may cause your skin tone to darken over the next 48 hours.
Skin tones that are capable of developing a tan, typically skin types II through V, will probably darken in tone within two days.
The Bottom Line:
Evidence suggests that tanning greatly increases your risk of developing skin cancer. And, contrary to popular belief, getting a tan will not protect your skin from sunburn or other skin damage. The extra melanin in tanned skin provides a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of about 2 to 4; far below the minimum recommended SPF of 15.
Are indoor tanning devices safer than tanning in natural sunlight?
No. The UV radiation produced by indoor tanning devices can cause the same damage to the skin as natural sunlight. Exposure to UV radiation, whether from an indoor tanning device or from natural sunlight, increases health risks for everyone.
Avoid indoor tanning if:
You burn easily and don't usually tan in natural sunlight.
You get frequent cold sores. UV radiation can lead to common light-sensitive ailments.
You have medical conditions like lupus and vitiligo. UV radiation can worsen symptoms.
You are immune suppressed. UV radiation can be more hazardous.
You eat certain foods or use certain cosmetics or medications that can make your skin burn more easily. This reaction is called "photosensitivity". Ask the tanning facility operator or employee for a list of these items.
Premature skin aging
There is considerable evidence that cumulative UVR (UVA and UVB) exposure results in premature skin aging characterized by a dry, coarse, leathery, and wrinkled appearance. It has been clearly demonstrated that UVA causes skin damage in mice (Kligman et al. 1987; Bissett et al. 1989). Similar effects might be expected in humans as a result of excessive use of sunbeds.
Daily exposures to suberythemogenic purely UVA within the spectral region 320-400 nm for 8 d or exposure to longer UVA wavelengths between 340-400 nm for 2 mo result in cumulative morphological skin alterations, which are indicative of tissue injury (Lavker et al. 1995; Lowe et al. 1995; Seité et al. 1998). In a 5-year longitudinal study of women who used or did not use tanning salons (Piérard 1998), serious modifications of skin elasticity and extensibility were found in the tanning salon user group. In that group, the severity of skin disorders was inversely correlated with their natural pigment capacities. It has been concluded from the study that the unremitting use of sunbeds induces a functional decline of the dermis resembling premature aging.
People who tan under the sun or use tanning beds and lamps are at risk of sunburn. This inflamed redness of the skin is caused by too much exposure to UV radiation, particularly UVB radiation. Sunburn may show up right away in severe cases, or may develop up to 24 hours later.
If you do not protect your eyes while tanning, overexposure to UV radiation can also cause temporary but painful eye conditions known as photokeratitis and photoconjunctivitis. In particular, overexposure to UVB radiation may be linked to the development of cataracts, a clouding over of the lens of the eye, which can cause blindness, as well as pterygium (Surfer's eye), photokeratitis (snow blindness) and photoconjunctivitis.
Tanning can also cause longer-term health effects. Being exposed to UV radiation can cause your skin to age more quickly and can increase your risk of developing Next link will take you to another Web site skin cancer. Your risk of developing skin cancer increases the more you are exposed to UV radiation. There is also scientific evidence that exposure to UV radiation weakens the immune system. This could affect your body's ability to defend itself against serious illnesses, including malignant melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. Cumulative exposure to UV radiation is known to increase the risk of developing skin cancer and other negative health risks. Studies indicate that people who have suffered severe and frequent sunburns during childhood are at greater risk of developing skin cancer.
Each year, 1 in 58 Americans will develop melanoma, (1) which is the most common cancer in 25-to 29-yearolds and the second most common cancer in 15-to 29-year-olds. (2) In the average city, more tanning salons exist than Starbucks or McDonalds; (3) and nearly 30 million people-2.3 million of whom are teenagers--tan indoors in the United States each year. (4) The tanning bed industry argues that the risk of skin cancer is grossly exaggerated and that newer UVA tanning beds are safe...
But by the late 1980s, warnings about the risks of sun bathing came to public attention. Incidences of melanoma (a form of skin cancer) had increased more than tenfold from 1930 to the late 1980s. Soon, protective sun lotions were marketed to protect sunbathers from burning...