An Overview Of The Relation Between Tanning And Skin Health

Tanning, or the exposure of skin to light in order to darken the skin’s appearance, is a popular trend for women, athletes and young people. Many people report feeling great after tanning sessions, while others can’t stop talking about how tanning leads to skin cancer and other health concerns. Learn the truth about the relation between tanning and skin health before exposing yourself to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Why Do People Go Tanning?
People tan their skin for a variety of reasons. Many simply love spending time outdoors, and the prolonged exposure to UV rays results in a tan. Others lie in the sun for hours, intentionally bronzing their skin because they believe it creates a healthier, more attractive appearance. Still others tan their skin to treat minor dermatological conditions.

What Are the Benefits of Tanning?
Attractive skin is just one of the many benefits offered by tanning practices. Tanning helps your skin to absorb vitamin D, an essential nutrient that helps to maintain levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, and wards off certain disease like rickets, osteoporosis and osteomalacia, a condition that softens the bones.

Doctors often recommend phototherapy, or the exposure to light for medical purposes. In phototherapy, you’re exposed to levels of UV radiation similar to those found in a tanning bed. Doctors may recommend this treatment to improve the mood, especially for patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Phototherapy may be recommended for patients with dermatological conditions such as eczema and psoriasis as well.

Maintaining a tan can actually promote healthy skin by helping protect you from burns caused by natural UVA and UVB sunlight. Some studies indicate the people who live in sunnier regions are less likely to die from certain cancers, such as breast, colon and ovarian cancers.

What Are the Dangers of Tanning?
Skin cancer has been associated with too much exposure to UV radiation, including both natural sunlight and the artificial light produced by tanning machines and phototherapy aids. Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the Unites States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). Skin cancers like carcinoma and melanoma are frequently the result of too much UVA and UVB exposure, either from natural sunlight or tanning beds.

If you’re looking to achieve an attractive and healthy-looking glow, but are unwilling to risk the dangerous effects of UV rays, you can try a number of alternatives to tanning beds.