Heading for the beach? Grab your shades, your towel, and your sandals. But don’t forget some sun block even if you are desperate for that bronze tan.
The Truth About Sun Bathing
Research has shown that more than one million people are at a risk of being diagnosed for skin cancer, and there is a strong correlation between those who take a lot of sun baths and the disease. According to scientific studies, there is no such thing as a “healthy tan”. Tanning is, in essence, the skin’s reaction to damage already done, and a defensive attempt to protect itself from further harm.
The UV (or Ultraviolet) rays are the most threatening component of sunlight. There are essentially two types of UV rays – UVA and UVB. They negatively affect the skin by deeply penetrating it, and potentially damage the skin fibers and its elasticity. UVA rays (the predominant type) tend to cause skin cancer after exposure to the sun for prolonged periods of time. The sunburn and the redness associated with sun exposure result from UVB rays, which are also a strong risk factor for skin cancer. Personal tanning methods available today attempt to eliminate the UV rays from coming in contact with the skin, yet you have to wonder how safe you are when shutting yourself in a tiny tanning booth for 30 minutes at a time!
The popularity of tanning beds tends to soar as teens strive for the prom-perfect hue. Women of all ages aim to darken their pasty white complexions they got in the winter. Though they are thought to be slightly more safer than getting a natural tan due to the controlled environment, the risks are still associated with them as the exposure to UV rays is still existent. Studies show that people using tanning beds are more prone to malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Also, researchers say it is likely that 1 in every 13 persons using a tanning bed will get skin cancer. The odds drop drastically for persons who don’t use a tanning bed at all, at 1 in every 97.
Sun Tanning Tips
If you simply cannot avoid sun bathing on a gorgeous day, consider using sunscreen with a low SPF. This will not only allow tanning, but the skin will also receive some degree of protection from the powerful rays. Be especially cautious when in water, as the sun may badly burn the skin without any warning signs. Hats and t-shirts can provide a degree of protection, but they can give you tan lines.
Some individuals should exercise extreme caution before exposing themselves to the sun, especially those with very fair skin. Those who burn often or tan poorly, those who have many freckles or moles, those under age 16, and also those who have a history of skin cancer in the family have to be extra cautious. This also holds true for those people who have an ultra-sensitive skin. Even if these conditions do not apply to you personally, it is still important to be smart about your exposure to the sun.
Do keep the following points in mind whenever you are exposed to the sun for a significant amount of time:
* Do your best to avoid falling asleep while tanning. We all know how tempting it is to take a relaxing nap to the sounds of the surf, but it is possible you could wake up with a painful sunburn.
* Even if you are determined to go home with some color, apply a very low SPF level sunscreen. Something as low as SPF 15 will do good for your skin than bare exposure!
* When you do experience sunburn, keep aloe and cocoa butter ready at hand. Aloe is known to soothe the skin, while cocoa butter helps in keeping the skin soft and smooth while also repairing it. It also prevents peeling after sun damage. It’s best if you consult your physician before attempting to use any of the above mentioned remedies.