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What is the safest way to sun tan?

Updated on July 25, 2011
Gradual Sun-Tan is better than burning!
Gradual Sun-Tan is better than burning!

With the start of summer there are many who want to banish their pale skin in favour of a deep, dark tan. Come summer everyone who wants to look that bronze colour starts considering the best way to get that sun-bronzed glow — turning to a stretch in the sun, to self-tanners, tanning booths or a combination of these.

But before you start sitting in the sun baking your skin spend a few minutes finding out about your skin and the damage un-protected sun exposure can do to your skin, once damage is caused then your health can be affected. Learning and remembering these facts can help you get the look you want without causing damage to your skin.

Ways to get a tan

There are 3 ways to achieve a tan:

  • Fake Tanning
  • Sun Tanning
  • Salon Tanning

The safest tanning method from the above three is the fake tanning you buy a tanning product from the shop and apply to your body.

Salon tanning, there have been many horror stories about salon tanning where people have been injured or due to long exposure over a period of time have suffered medical conditions. Like everything else where machinery is involved you need to make sure that you follow all guidance and seek professional advice before utilising tanning machines.

Turning to the natural sun tanning method, if you are heading for the beach, don’t forget your sun screen. This is the first and most important sun tanning tip.

Many studies have been conducted and the results show a strong relationship between sun tanning and skin cancer. More and more people are being diagnosed with the disease due to unsafe tanning.

There is no such thing as a “healthy Sun tan”. Tanning is, in essence, the skin’s reaction to damage already done, and a defensive attempt to protect itself from further harm. So take care of your skin when the sun is at its peak and always apply sun screen.

Sun tan Safey!
Sun tan Safey!

How you get a Tan?

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 your body's way of protecting your skin from burning. People who have darker skin tan more deeply than those with a lighter skin because their melanocytes produce more melanin. 

Sun tanning tips to get a safe tan

Sunscreen is an absolute must. The SPF factor in sun screens, is the number of times you're being protected by the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays (the strength of the barrier), while sun block is a stronger shield that literally blocks you from most of the sun's UV rays. This means that sun screen still allows you to get a tan; it just makes tanning more gradual and prevents you from burning.

Make sure while tanning you re-apply sun screen approximately 20 minutes before going outside, and re-apply if you go into the water, even if your lotion is waterproof.

Tips to avoid getting burned while tanning:

Sun tan tips
Sun tan tips

The best attitude when it comes to getting a tan is to think gradual. No one can or will get a great tan in one day, but you will after several days of being exposed to the sun – gradual effect.  Don’t harm your body simply because you want a tan.

Your comments most appreciated!

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    • profile image

      JoelMcLendon 5 years ago

      A lot of people disregard instructions when taking medications.

      There are several meds that if taken while sunbathing or just being out in the sun, will cause pigment changes and cause permanent brown spots.

      It is called photosensitivity. The results are sun rashes and sunburns. Ask your doctor if any of your medications can cause photosensitivity.

      My wife gets a dark tan nearly every summer, but when the tan goes away, she returns to her beautiful creamy color. Why, because she is a nurse and knows what to do and whet not to do.

      See Her Photo

    • Zubair Ahmed profile image

      Zubair Ahmed 6 years ago

      Hi HP Roychoudhury,

      Thank you for your nice comment.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

      Anything if natural is good. Thanks for sharing.