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Tanning Methods Pros and Cons

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Tanning Methods Pros and Cons

A tan line on a woman whose skin was tanned and darkened, except the covered place.

A tan line on a woman whose skin was tanned and darkened, except the covered place.

Wikipedia Commons

A tan line on a woman whose skin was tanned and darkened, except the covered place.

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

A tan line on a woman whose skin was tanned and darkened, except the covered place.

Isabelle Chi, Reporter

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     As the weather getting nicer and warmer, sweatshirts and jeans are gradually being replaced by tank tops and shorts. With more skin being exposed, the importance of tanning seems to rise to lots of people. Generally in Western culture, having a glowing, bronzed body is considered as a mark of beauty. However, under the trend of tanning, there are some things we need to know before going too far because not all the ways of getting tanned are healthy and safe. There are many ways to get a tan, including going to a tanning salon to use the tanning bed, using self-tanning lotions, and of course, getting tanned by the sun naturally.

 

Sun tanning

    First of all, the most natural way to get a tan is to go under the sun. Since you can get tanned almost everywhere to as long as there’s sunlight instead of being stuck in a tanning bed for their session, many people might prefer this way so that they can enjoy the fresh air. Not only of the flexibility of place, tanning outdoors can actually improve your health. The sun’s UV rays contain vitamin D, which our body cannot produce naturally. Our bodies need vitamin D in order to maintain healthy bones and muscle so that they can develop normally. Natural tans also last longer than artificial tans.

    Despite all of those advantages, however, there are some potential dangers of tanning outdoors. The most bothersome one is that you can’t control the strength. Exposing skin to sunlight for too long may cause bad sunburns. What’s worse, UV rays may damage your skin and develop a skin cancer. Hence, it is important to control the time and apply base lotion with low SPF before going under the sun to prevent sunburn but also get tanned. Also, natural tanning often results in unsightly tan lines.

 

Tanning beds

   Except for the natural way, there are some artificial ways to get a nice tan, One of the most popular ways is to use a tanning bed. Going to a tanning salon requires no specific weather condition, which is a really nice because you can get a tan even in cold months. Also, under the control of professionals, there is less possibility to get a sunburn. Instead of going outdoor and staying for quite a while, tanning beds save your time.

However, there are also risks of using tanning beds. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, tanning in a tanning bed increases your risk of cancer. Tanning beds have been associated with squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, which are skin cancers, as well as ocular melanoma, which is an eye cancer. Since the tanning beds are used by multiple customers, the concern of sanitary might be considered as well. Before going to a tanning salon, make sure to pick a trustworthy one and put goggles on to prevent permanent damages.

 

Sunless tannings

   For those who have no desire of exposing to UV, using self-tanning lotion, sprays, or tanning pills can be an option as well. Since exposure to ultraviolet light is associated with the development of skin cancer, sunless tanning has become a popular alternative. There are different forms of sunless tanning, and they work differently as well. Tanning lotions and sprays usually contain a chemical called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which reacts with the amino acids found in the dead layer on the skin’s surface, turning skin into a tanned color. As for tanning pills, they contain canthaxanthin, a carotenoid that changes the skin to an orange-brown color. The best part of sunless tanning is that they don’t require any UV exposure, so we don’t have to worry about the side effects of wrinkles or cancer from sunlight. Parker Taft (10) has some experience of spray tanning, when asked the reason why she chose spray tanning instead of other methods, she replied, “I do spray tanning because it’s better for your body, you don’t get skin cancers if you go outside and in tanning beds.” Whitney Price (10) also does spray tan too, she tells the benefit of spray tanning, “It’s knockout tan, It only takes about 10 minutes, and it’s not very expensive. It’s a healthier and safer way to get tan.”

   Despite the fact that sunless tanning has a lot of benefits, there is some negative part as well. For the Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) sprays and lotions, it was known that it can cause contact dermatitis, which is a type of irritation of the skin. Contact dermatitis can cause large itchy rashes. For tanning pills, it has a possibility to damage your digestive system and the surface of your skin.

Each way of tanning has its own advantages and side effects. It’s definitely nice to have a skin tone you desired, like what Taft mentioned, “Getting spray tans makes me feel better and happier, and it makes me confident too.” However, when pursuing a nice, bronzed body, we should all be aware of the risk of tanning and weigh the pros and cons. Overdoing it might not only bring sunburn, which only takes a while to heal, but also puts your health in danger.  If getting a tan is appealing to you, make sure to ask for professional help and protect yourself from permanent damage.

Wikipedia Commons
A tan line on a woman whose skin was tanned and darkened, except the covered place.

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Tanning Methods Pros and Cons