Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer Survival: Tanning

Now that it is summer time and school seems miles and miles away, I must recognize one of the hottest summer trends in the Sunshine State: Tanning.


Tanning is every teenage girl's hobby anywhere from the backyard to the scorching beaches. The fun little substitute for tanning (for all you ladies who avoid burning) is bronzer!

To be honest, I do not tan. I could, but I would burn first, plus my seventh grade science experiment was on the dangers of the sun's rays. Here is some healthy information about tanning. Everyone deserves to be informed.

How to Survive a Tan-Filled Summer

First off, the sun is the source of a tan...but it is not just any ray of light that causes your skin to magically change color. The actual rays that create tans are ultraviolet rays, and they are dangerous. 

Exposure to ultraviolet light can cause wrinkles, dark spots on the skin, and skin cancer. 

A lot of people say, "Oh, come on! Everything causes cancer nowadays." 

Can we really call ourselves experts on these subjects? I can not. But there are people and organizations that have spoken up about this issue. 

You should know that using tanning beds does not make tanning any better. There are tons of salons out there that claim that the tanning beds are safer to use and will not cause cancer. In reality, those lights on the inside, they emit ultraviolet light. 

In other words, instead of getting hit by the sun from millions of miles away, you are directly being hit by dangerous ultraviolet light.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some information on this topic on the website.

According to the FDA, a tan is actually a reaction from the skin. When it is hit by ultraviolet rays, the skin acts up. It produces melanin, a pigment that makes the skin darker. This reaction damages the skin and can cause serious damage (in the form of skin cancer) over time. 

How much time? It depends on the person, but the FDA said it could take decades, meaning that people tanning at a younger age are more likely to get skin cancer. 

Alternatives

If you decide you can go without tanning in the sun, the alternatives will work. What are they?

Tanning sprays and lotions

Using these means no sun damage! Hooray! 

If you are spraying it on, make sure you do not inhale it. Also, the FDA recommends keeping your eyes, nose, and lips clear of sprays:

"[Sunless tanning sprays and lotions] should not be inhaled, ingested, or exposed to areas covered by mucous membranes including the lips, nose, and areas in and around the eye (from the top of the cheek to above the eyebrow) because the risks, if any, are unknown." 

For more information on alternatives to sun tanning click here.

Happy tanning!

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