Without question, there is no such thing as a safe tan from the sun or tanning beds. All tanning other than from a self-tanner has a risk. Whether you tan a little or a lot, skin turning any shade darker than your natural skin color is your skin’s response to too much UV radiation. The color from a tan is your body trying to protect itself by putting down pigment, like an umbrella above cells to prevent DNA damage. Think of a tan as your body trying to make its own SPF.
As a lead esthetician at Shefa Wellness Center, when I see someone who is dark from tanning; all I see is the body’s desperate attempt at protection. A comeback I hear often is that they are getting their vitamin D. But if you are dark from the tanning beds, you are being fooled.
Almost all rays emitted from the tanning beds are UVA. These deep penetrating rays are not used by the body to promote vitamin D. In fact these rays significantly increase skin cancer rates, and accelerate the aging process of the skin. Natural sunlight does have the right type of rays in it to allow the body to make Vitamin D, but you pay a price for them. Again in the form of skin cancer, and the accelerated aging process. Dermatologists warn against tanning beds and too much natural sunlight for those reasons — but the general practitioner says a little natural sun is okay.
Feeling confused? Despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is prudent to limit exposure. According to the national toxicology program report on carcinogens from the Department Of Health And Human Services, broad-spectrum UV radiation is a carcinogen thought to contribute to most of the estimated 1.5 million skin cancers and the 8,000 deaths due to metastatic melanoma that occur annually in the US. Even a little sun puts you at risk. The only safe option is getting your vitamin D in the form of supplementation. So cover up, apply sun block often, and enjoy the summer.
Contributed by Shefa Wellness center Lead Esthetician, Sam Beausoleil. To help reverse the signs of aging, schedule a consultation for their Canton, Braselton or Tucker locations.