SolveYourProblem eLearning Series:
Enjoy a Healthy Looking Tan All Year Long:
Sunless Tanning
( 11 pages )

     

 


INTRODUCTION TO TANNING

This guide sheds light on body tanning, sharing tips, secrets and other helpful information on using the variety of sunless tanning solutions available these days. And you’ll also learn about the benefits of each, the drawbacks, how well they work and much more to help you with your own tanning goals and planning.

For example, you’ll learn about various skin types and the appropriate sunscreen agents for each. And you’ll find out why you should reapply sunscreen especially after swimming or heavy perspiration.

With this guide, you will read about the most recent research and findings available so that you can discover more about body tanning, covering as many bases as possible from A to Z. You’ll find answers to questions like: Which sunless tanning products are safe? What are the two kinds of sunscreen agents? Can you tell me more about ultraviolet A and B or OVA and OVB sunrays and the sun protection factor (SPF) for my protection?

Note that the contents here are not presented from a medical practitioner, and that any and all health care planning should be made under the guidance of your own medical and health practitioners. This content only presents an overview of tanning research for educational purposes and does not replace medical advice from a professional physician.

 

SUNLIGHT & UV RAYS

The human body benefits from sun exposure. And a little bit of tan protects you from the sun. Right? Wrong!

The body does indeed benefit from sun exposure. But a little bit of tan does not necessarily protect you from the sun. Let’s see why.

The sun’s rays are a major source of vitamin D and help the body’s systems acquire much needed calcium for building hearty bones. However, most people do not need to spend large amounts of time exposed to the sun in order to get their required amount of vitamin D and shouldn’t. Because the body’s health can suffer negative effects when it’s exposed too long to the sun’s rays, especially if it’s unprotected. Results can vary from skin and eye damage to immune system suppression and ultimately cancer, even for the young.

In a nutshell, let’s look at the basic facts about sun exposure.

There are three kinds of invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays in the sun that reaches earth: UVA, UVB, and UVC. When these rays come in contact with our skin, affects of UVA and UVB can be tans, burns and other reactions like acne and cancer. So we need to be proactive and protect our skin from harmful damage.

It is notable that the effects of all UV rays are not the same. Depending upon the season, time of day and place on the planet in relation to the sun; i.e. your altitude and latitude, the rays’ intensities vary. For example, during summertime, UV rays are at their strongest. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the rays are strongest. And close to the equator and at high altitudes (where air and cloud cover are less, resulting in increased harmful penetration of UV rays into the environment), the rays are strongest.

In order to protect ourselves from the harmful UV rays, we need to first look at the skin’s first defense, melanin, a chemical present in a variety of colors and concentrations in most people's skin that helps with defense from the sun. Melanin reacts with UV rays and absorbs them. Or rather the rays act upon melanin, to be more specific, causing the melanin to spread out or grow, increasing its presence in response to the sun’s exposure, resulting in a sun tan. The darker the skin color, the more melanin the skin has for protection. And “tanning” for darker color is included here; “color” does not have to refer to just the original skin color.

Tanning may look great on the surface, but the amount and length of time a person is exposed to the sun determines the amount of possible damage and future risk of damage that’s likely. For example, people who are exposed to the sun in huge doses like ship crews, field workers and beach surfers, are at higher risks for skin damage than indoor workers. What happens is that when the amount of UV exposure is greater than what the skin's melanin can handle, a sunburn can result. And those with lighter, fairer skin who have less melanin, absorb less UV, suffering less protection.

Research shows that UV damage from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) reported that one person dies from skin cancer every hour and one out of every five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.

Americans have repeatedly heard the negative message about the damage of ultraviolet (UV) rays since the 1980’s. The message’s focal point was that about 80 percent of people’s lifetime dose of radiation was obtained by the time they reach 18 years of age, damage from the sun’s rays having had a cumulative effect throughout life. As a result, once young men and women finished with their high school years, many tossed aside the concept of skin-protection, not believing there was anything that could be done from that point on to help.

However, recent studies show that the previous negative message may not be true. A report published last year by “Photochemistry and Photobiology” journal, said that the false information was a result of misinterpretation of published data in a mathematical sense. And another, shared by the Netherlands and the United States, concluded that by age 18, most Americans are only exposed to less than 25 percent of their lifetime UV dose.

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