A suntan or sunbed tan usually provides a maximum SPF (sun
protection factor) of 4, which means you would take four times longer to burn
than if you had no tan. If you would normally burn after 15 minutes of sun
exposure, with a tan you would burn in one hour, or four times 15 minutes.
However, to even get a tan you need to damage your skin: a tan is the body`s
response to damaged DNA in the skin cells — the skin darkens in order to
prevent more damage, but the person`s risk of skin cancer is already increased.
So there is no such thing as a "safe" or "healthy" tan.
Since sunburns are also associated with higher risks of skin cancer, especially
melanoma, avoid both tans and sunburns.
beds also contain a lot of UVA radiation. The UVA radiation does not burn the
skin as fast as UVB radiation, but it penetrates deeper into the skin and
causes irreversible skin aging — loss of elasticity, sagging, wrinkles, brown
spots and more. In addition, UVA, like UVB, can cause skin cancer. So there is no safe tan.
The bottom line is, do not try to get a tan. Instead, follow
· Apply a full ounce (two tablespoons) of sunscreen with an SPF of
15 or higher 30 minutes before sun exposure.
· Use a sunscreen that also contains good UVA protection.
Sunscreens with UVA protection are labeled broad spectrum, multi spectrum or
UVA/UVB protection, and contain ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc
oxide, avobenzone or Mexoryl™ SX (ecamsule).
· Wear protective clothing, such as wraparound UV-blocking
sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats and tightly woven, dark- or bright-colored
clothes. Long sleeves and long pants such as jeans are always a good idea.
· Seek the shade between 10AM and 4PM, when the sun is strongest.
the weather warms, many of us would prefer to look like we passed our winter
days lounging by the pool instead of hunched before a computer screen or lab
bench. But soaking up the rays to acquire a so-called “base tan” does not fool
the sun or a tanning bed. Simply put, the benefits of being sun-kissed are not
came to this conclusion after studying the tanned buttocks of dozens of
volunteers. In study after study they have found that a base tan affords almost
no protection against future ultraviolet exposure. In fact, it actually puts
otherwise pale people at risk of developing skin cancers. A base tan only
provides an SPF, or sun protection factor, of 3 or less, according to the U.S.
surgeon general. For beachgoers, that means if a person would normally turn
pink after 10 minutes in the sun, an SPF 2 base tan would theoretically
buy her another 10 minutes—or 20 minutes in total—before she burns. That, says
David Leffell, the chief of dermatologic surgery and cutaneous oncology at Yale
University School of Medicine, is “completely meaningless” in terms of