Is there such thing as a healthy tan?
First and foremost, what is a tan? Simply put, tanning is your skin’s way of trying to protect itself from the malice of UV (ultraviolet) rays. Everyone’s skin has a different tolerance to these rays and it can be measured by its ability to make pigment on the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale:
- Type I- Always burns, never tans
- Type II- Almost always burns, rarely tans
- Type III-Mostly burns, sometimes tans
- Type IV-Burns a little, tans easily
- Type V- Rarely burns, tans easily
- Type VI- Never burns, very dark tan
No matter what skin type you have, you should always wear sunscreen and sun protection (hats, sun shirts, sun glasses, etc) to protect yourself from harsh consequences of UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. Life-long damage from these rays can happen in just a few minutes.
Unfortunately, any change in your skin’s natural color is a form of damage. Even if you wear sunscreen and tan very lightly, the added pigment will never be considered as beneficial, or even safe. A common misconception is that getting a “base tan” will protect from further skin damage or sunburns but in fact, no tan will limit risks of cancer, aging, or overall sun damage.
Though the short term benefits of getting a real golden tan may be tempting, the long term threats will always outweigh them. However, If you just can’t resist looking a shade or two darker, some healthy and safe alternatives to tanning include using self-tanning lotions or spray tans.
The Asarch Center offers restorative skin treatments in both Englewood and Castle Rock spa locations to help revitalize and soothe sun damaged skin. Mention this blog and receive a $25 gift certificate toward a DermaSpa Rx DNA Repair Gel 50ml.
Take this quick quiz to find out your Fitzpatrick Skin Type: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/are-you-at-risk/fitzpatrick-skin-quiz