Tanning: 5 Myths Busted, from Indoor Tanning to UVA Exposure

We have busted the common tanning myths so that you are aware and protect yourself from damage.

3 min read
Hindi Female

Tanning is not only related to beaches and summers any more. People go for indoor tanning as well and spend a good amount on tanning beds and treatments to get that beach look.

But we will be talking about tanning in general and today we are here to bring forward the common myths about tanning that need to be busted for the protection and prevention of diseases like skin cancer. Exposure to UV rays can be really harmful in the long run and people need to understand to be careful with their tanning treatments and their skincare routine during summers.


UV Exposure Gives Vitamin D and a Healthy Skin 

According to the doctors of Mayo Clinic, most skin cancers are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or from UV tanning machines.

There are two types of rays: UVA and UVB. UVB rays cause sunburn while UVA rays cause tanning and skin ageing. UVB rays are responsible for converting a protein in the skin into vitamin D. Tanning beds are known to emit UVA rays, which do not improve vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is important for healthy bones but no one needs to get a tan for that. A few minutes of incidental sun exposure on the face and hands is more than enough for a day. And even if the requirement is not met, food and supplements can fill in the gaps. Additional UV exposure does not increase vitamin D levels but it increases the risk of skin cancer.

Indoor Tanning Safer Than Suntan

You will hear a few tanning enthusiasts stating that tanning machines emit UVA light and that is the reason that it is safer than lying in the sun. But it is not true.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA light not only causes skin ageing but also melanoma. Research has proved that UVA light with a longer wavelength penetrated deeper into the skin causing melanoma.

Some studies observed that women suffering from melanoma before the age of 30 had used tanning beds. It is surprising how one visit to the tanning salon can significantly increase your chances of cancer.


Base Tan Prevents Serious Damage From Further Tanning 

There is a belief among people that a base tan can prevent people from getting a sunburn from further tanning. But it is not true. According to Healthline, tan in itself is proof of skin damage and the skin appears darker because it redistributes melanin to protect itself.

And tanning not only causes damage to the skin but damages the DNA as well. Longer exposure to the sun will not only darken the skin but make it thicker and leathery. It might be so harmful that the damage could be irreversible.

People With Darker Skin Do Not Need Sunscreen 

People who are fair know immediately that their skin is getting damaged in sun due to the changing colour of their skin but the sun causes equal damage to everyone irrespective of their skin color. Therefore, both White and dark-skinned people need to take precautions and apply sunscreen.

The damage results in ageing and cancer which is applicable to all skin types and colours. So, just because tan doesn't appear on the darker skin doesn't mean it's not harmful.

According to the Skincare Institute, higher levels of melanin provides extra protection but doesn't block all the UV radiation.

Only One Kind of UV Rays Are Harmful

As mentioned before, there are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are considered bad due to their link to sunburns and skin cancer. But that doesn’t make the UVA rays safe.

According to Healthline, UVA rays are more associated with photoaging, wrinkling, and irregular texture while UVB rays are linked to skin cancer.

Though tanning beds emit UVA rays that don't make them safe. These rays can be more damaging to the skin's DNA, especially if exposed for long which ultimately results in skin cancer.

Moreover, tanning beds are so dangerous that they’re considered illegal in some countries. In fact, there’s a movement to have them banned in the United States.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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