TAN LINES and Much More
Tanning: Nature’s Sunscreen
One reason so many people enjoy the professional indoor tanning experience is that trained operators can give a tanner controlled UV exposures to gradually develop natural sunscreen – often called a "base tan" – while minimizing the risk of sunburn. The tanning process actually creates two different forms of natural protection against sunburn:
- Melanin pigment produced when UV light meets the skin literally enshrouds and shields skin cells in the skin’s epidermis, protecting each cell from getting too much UV exposure. Melanin is a powerful anti-oxidant, helping the skin naturally eliminate free-radicals that can cause damage.
- As the skin tans, the outer layer thickens (a natural process called acanthosis) which is nature’s design to make the skin naturally more resistant to sunburn.
Here’s how that works:
- A typical new client begins tanning with 5-minute sessions, gradually develops a tan and can work her/his way up to 20-minute sessions. At this point, she/he becomes naturally FOUR TIMES more resilient to sunburn than when she/he first started tanning. (5 minutes x 4 = 20 minutes). So that tan has an SPF 4 value.
- When someone with a base tan uses sunscreen outdoors, they essentially multiply the effectiveness of the sunscreen. In other words, an SPF 15 product applied to the skin of a person whose base tan has already made her four times more resilient to sunburn creates a net SPF of 60. (SPF 15 x 4 = SPF 60).
In sunny environments many fair-skinned people can sunburn during normal outdoor activities even while wearing sunscreen. But with a base tan their sunscreen becomes more effective and they are much less likely to sunburn.
Casual Self-Treatment of Cosmetic Skin Conditions
Millions of indoor tanning customers frequent U.S. indoor tanning salons for their own self-treatment of cosmetic skin conditions and other non-cosmetic tanning reasons - physiologic benefits that can occur when one follows the cosmetic regimen at a tanning facility. According to a 2010 Smart Tan survey:
- More than three million consumers frequent tanning salons for self-treatment of psoriasis, eczema, acne, vitiligo, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and to increase vitamin D levels.
- Approximately one million indoor tanners said they were referred to tanning facilities by their dermatologist.
Could Indoor Tanning Be a Surrogate for What Nature Intended?
Vitamin D production is one of the benefits that has been associated with human exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) emitted in sunlight and by an estimated 90 percent of commercial indoor tanning equipment. While the North American indoor tanning industry conducts indoor tanning as a cosmetic service, an undeniable physiological side effect of this service is that indoor tanning clients manufacture sufficient levels of vitamin D as a result of indoor tanning sessions.
Indoor Tanners...........................42-49 ng/ml
The indoor tanning industry believes that, for those individuals who can develop tans, the cosmetic and vitamin D-related benefits of non-burning exposure to ultraviolet light in appropriate moderation outweigh the easily manageable risks associated with overexposure and sunburn. Many doctors agree: "I believe the health benefits of exposure to UVA and UVB rays greatly outweigh the disadvantages, even if that means using a sunbed during winter months." -British Oncologist Dr. Tim Oliver