Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tan safe

Summer is just around the corner and lot of people love having a tan, I know I do. People suntan for a variety of reasons - to enhance physical beauty and sexual attractiveness, for mood elevation and to counter depression. Some use sunlight to improve skin health as with psoriatic lesions. What are some of the safest ways?

One of the most common things you'll hear about tanning is that there is no safe way to tan, other than lotions or sprays. However, it is a theory that non-exposure to the sun actually can hurt you. Exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, yet ultraviolet light can help prevent breast and colon cancer according to www.novatan.com If they are in fact correct, skin cancer has a significantly lower death rate than the other types of cancer. What is most important is to tan as safely as you can.

Regular sun tanning is achieved through either tanning beds or exposure to the natural sun. Darkening of the skin is caused by and increase or release of the pigment melanin into the skin's cells after exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The ultraviolet frequencies responsible for tanning are often divided into the UVA (315 to 400nm wavelength) and UVB (280 to 315nm wavelength) ranges.UVB have higher energy than UVA waves and are therefore more damaging and more carcinogenic. Moderate tanning should include 20-30 minutes maximum per day and that can vary depending on skin tone.

Tanning beds are very popular and a relaxing way to tan. Usually you will go into a room and have all the privacy you need. Some beds are the typical "lay down" beds where you pull the top over you (most don't close, unlike you see in the horror movies). Some are stand up beds that are usually a higher dose of "sun" so that you are in them a shorter period of time. Most all beds have air conditioning and radios. I've found myself falling asleep in them many times just because it's so relaxing and comfortable. They all have timers so there's no chance of over-tanning if you fall asleep. The bed or unit will shut off when your time is up.

Some interesting facts supporting a healthy tan are:

* USA cancer rates are highest in the northern states with the least sunshine

* Rates of breast, prostate, ovarian, rectal and colon cancer are drastically lower persons with more sunlight exposure

* Sunlight exposure may reduce breast cancer of 30 to 40% and ovarian
cancer by 80%

* It is calculated that there are 2,200 sunlight associated cancer deaths yearly vs. 138,000 for the above cancers in the USA

* Sunlight associated cancers (non-melanoma) increase most where sunscreens are most heavily promoted

* Sunlight raises positive moods in persons with SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

* Psoriatic skin lesions are reduced by sunlight

* Sunlight raises testosterone levels in males

If you feel that tanning with ultraviolet light isn't for you, there are alternatives. There are much more quality sunless tanning products today than years ago. Years ago, there was the product QT (Quick Tan) but that seemed to leave an orange hue on a lot of people. Now there are gradual sunless tanners, sprays, etc to achieve a more natural looking tan. You can also get a spray on tan at your local tanning salon that lasts a few weeks and can be applied evenly and the right way to achieve a natural looking tan if you're too scared to try it yourself at home. If you do decide to try it at home, make sure you wash your hands when done and use sparingly around your elbows and ankles. Some self-tanners come with a harmless tint in them so you can see where you've applied it so that you don't have streaks later. Some of the spray on tans are easier to use but again, you must use sparingly at first or it will not look natural.

Whatever way you decide to tan, read the facts first and tan the safest way possible.

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