Sun Tanning

Sun tanning is a popular summertime activity. The typical vision of sun tanning is a person in their swimsuit or other tanning attire laying out on the beach, in their yard, on a lawn chair, or other comfortable spot under the sun, soaking up the rays. The purpose of sun tanning is to get a tan. While sun tanning seems a simple act there is a complicated physiological reaction taking place inside the body. The skin contains melanin. Darker skin contains more melanin. The sunlight is full of ultraviolet rays also called UV rays. When the UV rays hit the skin they produce melanocytes, pigment cells of the skin that produce melanin. The more that a person tans the more melanocytes they produce and the skin turns darker.

Sun tanning has different effects on different people because everyone has their own level of melanin and way of responding to the sun. Some people who try to sun tan will get sun burned then return to their normal skin color. Others tan very well. Sun tanning has received a lot of attention because it can be very dangerous and causes skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers even though it seems to get less attention. In women, it is the number one type of cancer, although the press plays to breast cancer more frequently, perhaps to the detriment of many women.

People can now tan year round since tanning salons are very popular. Unfortunately, many people have the false idea that because they are tanning in a salon, out of the sun, that it is somehow safer. Although there is a variety of technology the tanning beds also use lights with UV rays. These tanning beds have two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, both of which are harmful to the skin. Although tanning salons claim to be safer there have been studies done that show the amount of UV rays are still too high. Essentially, while sun tanning in tanning beds, people are laying directly under lights that are burning through their skin. Some people have even developed obsessive behavior when it comes to tanning, feeling the compulsive need to continue going daily or otherwise too frequently for their health, even when they are showing signs of wrinkled skin and sun spots. Sun tanning in tanning beds has been shown to cause skin cancer as must as the sun, so it should not be considered as a safer alternative.

All in all, people have been sun tanning likely since there has been sun. Having a nice tan does make people feel better and oftentimes a little bit more color looks better, or ironically, healthier. Since it is unhealthy to avoid the sun, the best thing to do is limit exposure. Keeping track of how much time is spent sun tanning is very helpful. Make sure to wear protection when outside. This involves hats, sunglasses, and most importantly, sun block. To protect the skin while sun tanning wear strong sun block with a high SPF. The best way for people to get tanned without worrying about the dangers is to use tanning lotions. The sun is very important to health as it provides the vital vitamin D, but it is important to take precautions to make sun tanning safer.