Is There a “Healthy” Tan?

Is There a “Healthy” Tan? Jun 9, 2020 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team

If you like the way you look with tanned skin, you’re far from alone. A countless number of people spend their free time basking in the sun or baking in tanning beds so they can achieve the look they want. Some even claim that tanning is safer and healthier than having pale skin. As much as people want to believe that, there is no such thing as a “healthy” tan. Dermatologists agree that tanning with natural or artificial sunlight is not safe

The Base Tan Myth

Far too many people believe what is known as the base tan myth. The concept is pretty simple. According to the myth, people should get a base tan before spending lots of time outside. The tanned skin protects the skin against sunburns, thus allowing people to avoid significant sun damage.While that might sound reasonable in theory, it’s merely not accurate. The protection you receive from a base tan is the same as the protection from a sunscreen with an SPF of three or four. The SPF refers to the amount of time sunscreen will protect your skin. If your base tan provides an SPF of four, you can stay out in the sun four times longer than you could without it, which isn’t much time at all. Considering that most people won’t hit the beach without wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 30, it’s easy to see that you don’t get much real protection from a base tan. 

How Much Is Too Much Sun? 

Base tans aren’t just ineffective, and also dangerous. You can damage your skin in the short amount of time it takes to get a base tan. Experts state that sunlight and tanning beds can damage the skin in a matter of minutes. Even a little bit of exposure can damage your DNA and result in skin cancer.

But What About Vitamin D?

What if you want to tan for health reasons? You’re interested in getting a tan so you can get the vitamin D you need to be healthy. UVB exposure indeed helps your body synthesize vitamin D. However, the risks far outweigh this benefit. That’s why many experts recommend that people use supplements and eat the right foods to ensure they get enough vitamin D. 

You Can Look Tan Without Harmful Rays

Fortunately, you can look like you spend your time on the beach even if you protect yourself from sunlight. Consider sunless tanning products that stain your skin. These products only stain your skin temporarily and can look natural. Just remember that sunless tanning products do not provide sun protection. If you go outside with one of these products on, you’ll still need to wear sunscreen. Otherwise, you could end up with a sunburn and serious damage.

Other Ways to Protect Your Skin

Even if you aren’t actively tanning, the sun can damage your skin. Protect it by incorporating some tips.First, avoid going outside when the sun is burning the brightest. Always wear sunscreen when you’re going to be outside, even if it’s just for a short time. Choose a product that protects the skin from UVB and UVA rays. Finally, throw on some protective clothing when you go outside as well. The clothing will protect you from the rays.As much as you might want to believe you can safely tan, it’s not true. Tanning is dangerous and should be avoided. Protect your skin when you’re outdoors, and use a sunless tanning product if you want to look tan. You’ll look fantastic, and you won’t have to worry about sun damage. If you are looking for more information about tanning, feel free to contact our office.

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