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Tanning (tanning the skin), what are the effects on skin health?

To get a darker and evener complexion, someone usually does tanning. Tanning can be done indoors or outdoors. Indoor tanning is usually done in special tanning salons using special tools, while outdoor tanning is roughly the same as sunbathing, sometimes using special lotions so that the color produced is better and evenly distributed.


Types of tanning

Outdoor tanning

Basking on the beach to get tanned skin is not infrequently done by some people. Although sunlight is good for vitamin D formation, sunbathing for too long with the aim of darkening skin color is not a good idea. Although using SPF lotions and various types of products contain sunscreen, ultraviolet rays found in sunlight can still damage the skin. Simply put, UV light will stimulate pigment production so that it makes the skin darker.

There are two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB rays. Specifically, UVA rays work to stimulate pigment cells in the skin to darken skin tone, and UVB rays can thicken the epidermal tissue of the skin and cause sunburn or sunburn. Besides causing sunburn, outdoor training can also increase the risk of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Indoor tanning

Along with the development of technology, special tools were created to darken skin color without having to bask in the sun. One of these tools is tanning bed. Shaped like a bed equipped with a cover, tanning beds work by removing UV radiation. Unlike sunlight, the UV rays radiated on this tanning bed are UVA rays. Tanning beds are claimed to be safer because UVA rays do not burn the skin like UVB rays found in sunlight.

However, UVA rays turn out to have their own dangers because UVA can enter deeper into the skin tissue when compared to UVB light. UVA damages the tissues and blood vessels in the skin so that even if it is not burned, UVA rays inevitably continue to damage the skin. The strength of UVA radiation used in tanning beds can be 12 times more powerful when compared to UVA radiation from the sun. Those who often do indoor tanning have a 2.5 times greater risk of developing squamous cell cancer later on, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell cancer. Symptoms of skin damage are not seen immediately, but can only appear years later.

Tanning effect for skin appearance

The effects of tanning, especially indoor tanning, will not immediately appear after tanning. Of course, the skin will be colored more brownish, but besides that doing tanning for a long time can also damage the appearance of the skin. Some signs of skin damage caused by UV radiation are:

  • Brown spots appear.
  • Fine wrinkles and other signs of aging appear faster than they should be due to UVA rays that damage the skin tissue to the inside.
  • Boils, pimples, or rough rashes on the skin appear.
  • Burning of the skin or sunburn, which is caused by high UVB exposure.
  • Tanning effect for body health

Besides damaging the appearance of the skin, the effects of UVA rays can also affect the immune system. This is because UV radiation is absorbed by the skin to the molecular level and triggers changes in molecules and cells that play a role in the immune system.

More severe skin health problems can occur after years of tanning, including:

Non-melanoma skin cancer: This cancer can occur in squamous parts, cells that form the middle to the outermost layer of the skin, and in the basal part, cells that function to produce new skin cells. Between them, basal cell cancer is most common but is easy to treat because it usually does not spread to other parts of the body and its growth is very slow. While cancer that occurs in squamous parts is slightly more dangerous because it can spread to other parts of the body, but its growth tends to be slow and can be removed by surgery.

Melanoma: this type of cancer is rare but is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Melanoma cancer can be shaped like a mole or freckles at first. However, melanoma has an irregular shape and the color is also uneven, sometimes itching occurs in melanoma. Handling as soon as possible increases the chances of recovery because melanoma cancer develops rapidly and can spread to other parts of the body.

How is tanning safe?

However, if you want more exotic colors on the skin, natural sunlight is far better than tanning beds in salons. The only thing to remember is, don't try to bask in the sun without using sunblock or suncreen. Don't forget that these products must be re-applied to the skin every 1-2 hours (depending on the SPF), and every time you swim. Also limit the sunbathing time to not be too long.

To reduce the effects of tanning which is harmful to health, you can try sunless tanning, which does not involve UVA or UVB light. Sunless tanning is usually in the form of products that can darken skin color. The form is in the form of lotions, creams, and sprays that are applied to the skin, creating effects such as after tanning. The basic ingredients are dyes and dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When applied to the skin, DHA will react with dead skin cells that are on the surface of the skin and darken the skin tone temporarily. Sunless tanning will usually last for several days.