Tan Your Skin Safely

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Lynn, Eng, Julia Moliere and 1 other

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Tanned skin has always been perceived as sexy or seductive. Whether you're a man or a woman, you definitely make a statement if you have that golden caramel shade on your skin. A tan makes you wear white garments in a bolder way. It also makes you appear exotic. That is why many people work on their tans, even if it's off season for it. If you want to explore the possibilities of having tanned skin, then you should consider doing it the safe way. Altering your skin's coloration should not cause any pain or harm. Tanning is a cosmetic procedure that you can acquire either naturally or artificially. It's your responsibility to take note of the proper techniques that you should follow so that you could stand out with your tan and not regret every moment of having it.

Things That Happen to Your Skin When You Tan

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Have you ever wondered what happens to your skin when you tan it? You may already know that UVB and UVA radiation hit your skin when you expose yourself to sunlight. These forms of radiation pave the way for tanning. There are actually three stages that happen during your skin's darkening:

  1. 1
    First Stage
    Once the UVA radiation hits your skin, the melanin that's close to the skin's surface is immediately oxidized. Your skin becomes darker.
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  2. 2
    Second Stage
    In this stage, the UVA radiation elicits change in the activity of the melanocytes. These melanocytes are found deeper in your epidermis. They are effectively stimulated to make more melanin. The new batch of melanocytes are delivered to the keratinocytes on the more superficial skin cell layers. Melanocytes are then placed on the outer areas of the cells right above the nuclei, providing more protection.
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  3. 3
    Third Stage
    This stage initiates the added protection but also indicates the degree of skin damage done. Here, the melanocytes produce more cells that produce melanin. An increase in the number of cells results to more melanin production. The third stage occurs about five to seven days after you have been exposed to UVA radiation.
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Melanoma Facts

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Before you think about getting a tan on impulse, you should know the facts about melanoma first. Tanning does not directly cause melanoma. It just visibly shows you that your skin cells already have a degree of damage. You get melanoma if you stay in the sun unprotected for too long. Melanoma is known to be the most feared form of cancer that you can have on your skin. Experts believe that if you do not care for your skin while exposed to UV rays, you will have a higher risk at acquiring melanoma. When melanocytes are proliferating uncontrollably, melanoma starts to brew. The increased number of melanocytes results to the formation of dark tumors or moles known as melanomas. These melanomas appear instantly near or from moles that you already have. It would be best for you to know your skin and moles to see if you are already harboring melanomas. Focus on your upper back and legs. These are the usual positions of melanomas in women. Men usually have them on their upper backs. Take note of the following when you inspect your moles:

  1. 1
    Change in color and size
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  2. 2
    Change in the mole's nodule
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  3. 3
    Bleed, become scaly, or start oozing
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  4. 4
    Pigment from the mole's nodule spreads to the skin around it
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  5. 5
    Become painful, tender, or itchy in the affected area
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  6. 6
    Have spots or growths with irregular pigmentation
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Remember that melanoma is treatable as long as it is detected early. If not, this can be fatal to the patient.

How to Tan Safely

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Now that you know what you need to about tanning, are you ready to get tanned? The tanning process these days is not limited to natural sun exposure anymore. You already have the option to tan with or without the sun. However, safety should always be first no matter which path you choose. Below are effective ways on tanning your skin safely:

  1. 1
    Conventional Sun Tanning.
    1. Get to know the tanning process first. Make your own research on tanning techniques and the effects they have on your skin.
    2. Protect your skin.
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      You should always wear sunscreen before exposing yourself under the sun's rays. Neglecting to do so makes you prone to developing skin cancer. If you choose to apply sunblock on your skin, the zinc oxide and titanium oxide in this product will completely shield your skin from the UV rays. You will not get a tan if you're using sunblock. A sunscreen application will allow some of the UV rays to reach the surface of your skin. You will get a little tan with this product. Applying a product with SPF (sun protection factor) will regulate the amount of UV rays that will reach the surface of your skin. Choose a product with at least SPF 15. Your entire body requires about 2-3 tablespoons of sunblock or sunscreen. Focus on your back, face, nose, arms, and shoulders. Reapply your sun protection after swimming in the water or every two hours when staying ashore.
    3. Determine the length of time you need for tanning. The highest level of UV radiation is acquired from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Just be sure to tan little by little during these hours. Just an hour each day is enough to work on your tan gradually.
    4. Accelerate your tanning with tanning oil. Tanning oils help increase the potency of the UV rays in darkening your skin. You get darker much faster if you use tanning oils. Use a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to help protect your skin while you're tanning. Reapply your tanning oil just like your sunscreen.
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  • 2
    Sunless Tanning on Your Own
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    1. Make use of a self-tanner. These are products that provide your skin a temporary tan. They are usually in the form of sprays, creams, and lotions. Tanners have dihyroxyacetone that gives color to your body's dead skin layer. Once you shed off your dead skin cells.
    2. Exfoliate first. To have a more lasting self-tanning effect, exfoliate. This gets rid of the dead skin cell layer of your skin's surface. This also prevents uneven tanning.
    3. Evenly coat your skin with the tanner. This is to make sure that you won't have colorless spots or streaks.
    4. Apply a coat of sunscreen when you go out. Most self-tanners are not formulated with sunscreen. Apply sunscreen so you can maintain healthy skin while you enjoy your artificial tan outdoors.
    5. Do not consider tanning pills. These pills will only damage your liver. They also contain a chemical-based dye that will make your skin orange.
    6. Keep yourself tanned. Maintaining a self-tan requires applying lotion once your skin feels dry. The moisturizing effect of the lotion reduces the dead skin cells you shed. This will then lengthen the effect of your tan.
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  • 3
    Sunless Tanning through Tanning Salons
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    1. Be careful with tanning beds. These tanning machines deliver UV rays to your skin, similar to the sun. This still makes you vulnerable to having skin damage. If you're always using an indoor tanning bed, you increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
    2. Opt for another tanner in salons. Most tanning salons have tanning sprays that are not approved by the FDA. These products can really put you at a disadvantage, especially when you accidentally inhale or ingest them.
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  • Getting a great tan is every tanning enthusiast's goal. You can have your perfect tan, whichever way you want. Just make sure that you adhere to the safe side of the process.


    • Consult your dermatologist first before engaging in the tanning process.
    • You can use water instead of tanning oil because water can attract sunlight.
    • When using the conventional sun tanning method, rotate your body so that you get an even tan.
    • Hydrate while tanning your skin. This way, you'll tan faster and you will not experience sunburns that easily.

    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


    Article Info

    Categories : Skin Care & Diseases | Beauty & Aesthetics

    Recent edits by: Julia Moliere, Eng, Lynn

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