Risks of Sun Tans

Sun tanning is the most effective way to get both a natural looking tan and one that will last for a while on your skin. The sun is able to create semi-permanent changes in your melanin levels and give you a smooth dark tan that will look both sexy and healthy over the course of the year. Tans may fade, but sun tans fade slowly, have none of the streaking problems of sunless tanners, and are considerably more fun to achieve as you get to lay back in the sun, enjoying your local weather.

But recent reports have shown that sun tanning is not the safest endeavor. There are many safety concerns associated with sun tanning that make it a risk for anyone looking to achieve that perfect tan. Here are some of the dangers of sun tanning that you put yourself through every time you go out in the sun.

Dangers of Tanning

  1. Skin Cancer

Any time you go out in the sun you put yourself at risk of skin cancer. Some skin cancers are far more dangerous than others, and there are many types of skin cancer that are almost completely curable, but there are also dangerous, fatal types of skin cancer that can occur if you are out in the sun often. Skin cancer represents a serious risk of sun tanning, and though it is not too common, it is always present in all populations (though most common in males and Caucasians).

  1. Sunburn

Any time you go tanning you run the risk of sunburn. In fact, some people sunburn on purpose because often when the burn leaves a tan is left in its wake. Yet sunburns are painful, can result in peeling, itching and sharp pains. Sunburns also increase your risk of developing skin cancer, and are simply not good for the health of your skin.

  1. Wrinkles/Aging Skin

The more sun your skin receives, the more your skin begins to show the appearance of aging. Sun damages skin cells and causes things like wrinkles and rough looking skin. It also reduces the amount of moisture that your skin is able to maintain, which can give it a hard, rougher look. Though you can reduce some of this with moisturizers, there are also going to be permanent changes for those that receive too much sun over the course of their life.

  1. Other Health Concerns

There are also other health concerns that you are at risk for when you experience excessive tanning. Too much sun has been linked to a weaker immune system, and also causes the creation of skin discolorations that, while not cancerous, do alter/impact your appearance.

Should You Not Tan?

These dangers are always present when you are tanning. Yet at the same time there is no denying that sun plays an important role in your life, and tanning with the sun is the best way to get a nice, attractive tan. As such, tanning is not necessarily a problem on its own, but make sure you take precautions to stay safe, be vigilant for any physical changes or signs of damage, and never overdo it – following best practices with tanning.

Risks of Tanning Beds

The sun is always free. Provided you live in a place that doesn’t suffer from torrential downpours or perennial winters, you will have the opportunity to at least try to tan in the outdoors, taking advantage of the sun and getting a dark tan that you can be proud of.

But the sun also goes away, and when the sun is not there (or if you work nights, or if you don’t want to be seen in a bathing suit, etc.), the other option for receiving the same type of tan is with a tanning beds. Tanning beds supply you with the rays you need to get a tan, without having to be in the sun. In fact, tanning beds are also able to give you the tan faster, as well as prepare you better for the summer.

But tanning beds are not the safest machines, and carry a number of different risks and dangers that you need to consider before you use them.

Dangers of Tanning Beds

  • Skin Cancer

Perhaps the most significant risk of tanning beds is the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer occurs when the UV rays from tanning beds negatively affects your DNA repair, which can cause cancerous cells to form. Skin cancer can be incredibly dangerous, and though fatal skin cancers are rare, they still present a common and persistent risk with anyone that uses tanning beds

  • Skin Aging

The more your skin sees the sun, the more damage it receives, and this damage can cause your skin to age prematurely. It is not uncommon for those that have received significant sun exposure to have skin that has aged prematurely due to a great deal of longstanding damage that has occurred over time.

  • Sun Spots/Discolorations

Sun damage can also cause a variety of more aesthetic issues, including the creation of sun spots, freckles, random discolorations and other issues. When you are tanning for the sole purpose of improving your appearance, these skin issues may defeat your goals.

  • Sunburns

You also run the risk of experiencing too many rays, ultimately leading to burns. These burns can be painful, cause your skin to peel, and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Tanning Beds Getting Better?

Recent efforts have been put into trying to reduce the damage caused by tanning beds. Overall, there have been some improvements. Tanning beds have been altered to create fewer UVB rays, which are the main source of skin cancer. This is a considerable upgrade and represents much less risk for your skin. But much less risk is not nearly the same thing as “no risk.” UVA rays have been shown to still be risky for those that experience them regularly, and science has shown that you are still at risk for skin cancer even in the tanning beds that emit no UVB rays.

But tanning beds are at least improving, and the fact that manufacturers are working towards something safer leaves hope that these will be better options in the future.

Fake Tan Safety

Using tanning booths and tanning out in the sun are not considered safe. Experts everywhere strongly recommend that you do not use tanning salons regularly. Tanning beds are known to cause a number of skin disorders including:

  • Skin Cancer
  • Premature Aging
  • Skin Dryness/Discomfort

Despite all of these warnings, tanning beds are still used regularly by men and women across the country. That is because it is difficult these days to be outside while the sun is out. Tan skin is associated with beauty, and it is the goal of many to do their best to get a tan in order to show off their body with more confidence. Tanning beds are the only way to get the same look without necessarily seeing the sun.

In addition, many of the dangers of tanning beds are the same dangers you receive if you spend a lot of time in the sun. For many, while they would be willing to turn down tannings beds if the sun was safer, since both provide the same dangers, few can justify the risks of tanning beds when they undergo the same risks in extended sun. It is clear that tanning beds are here to stay.

The Fake Tan Option

Another option for those looking for a tan is to use a fake tan or various sunless tanning systems. These systems use sprays and chemicals to dye your skin a tan color. Within a week or so that tan will fade, so these sunless tans are by no means perfect, but they do not carry the same risks of tanning beds. That makes them a far safer alternative than tanning beds and sun tanning.

Still, sunless tanning options are by no means side effect free. There are still problems that can occur, both temporary and permanent, when you decide to use a sunless tanning option.

Dangers of Sunless Tanning

Sunless tanning products are always made with chemicals. As a result, long term exposure to these chemicals has not been tested. Though no risks have currently been found, there is always a chance that subjecting your body to these chemicals over a long period of time may carry some health risks.

The greatest risk is with internal ingestion. The more you use the sunless tanning products, the greater the chances that you will accidentally ingest the chemicals. That can cause nausea, illness, cramping, itching, etc.

Skin reactions to the chemicals are also a possibility. You may get bumps on the application sites. Respiratory and eye issues have also been reported with different types of sunless tanning products.

Safer, But Not Perfect

Rest assured that sunless tanning products are far safer than tanning bed and sun tanning alternatives. But it is important to remember that you are using a chemical. There is always risk whenever you have long term exposure to a chemical, and allergic reactions can occur if your body rejects the substance. Use sunless tanning options if you want to avoid the sun tanning risks, but always be aware that there are health risks that can occur with their use.