If you are sun-worshiper or a tanning bed dweller, you will know that having a tan is always a good look to have. However, it is important to approaching tanning cautiously and ensure that you are safe when doing so. Tanning, of course, is related to skin cancer, and it is important not to stay in the sun for too long without protection. It is also important to read up in advance about how your skin will react to the tanning experience, as different skin types can react in different ways.
Tanning is caused by cells in your skin, known as melanocytes, reacting to UV rays by producing melanin. Melanin helps to protect the body by absorbing UV rays, which is what causes your skin to turn a darker color when you tan. However, if there is too much sun for the melanin to absorb your skin will burn.
The Six Skin Types
There are six types of skin types, all arranged on a scale. At one end of the scale are those people who are classed as Type I with white skin that never really tans, instead it burns. At the other end of the scale are those people classed as Type VI with dark skin that never burns but instead produces a dark and even tan. The scale is determined by the color of a person’s skin and also by their sensitivity to sunlight. It could be that someone has fairly dark skin but burns after five minutes in the sun, which leaves them more vulnerable to injury when tanning. It is important to be aware of your skin type when approaching tanning to ensure that you are behaving safely in the sun.
It is worth taking some time to work out the skin type that you have. This will help to determine the amount of time that you should spend in the sun in order to develop a tan. It could be, for example, that it is better for people with Type I skin to spend short bursts of time in the sun to ensure that their skin is encouraged to tan but it is not prone to burning.
As a result of their fair skin, there are certain things that those with Type I and sometimes Type II skin should be aware of. It is important, for example, to wear suncream when out in the sun. Those with fair skin are vulnerable to skin cancer, and suncream can help to diminish this risk. Creams such as Factor 20 will allow the skin to tan while at the same time lowering the risk of burning. If you are spending time in the sun or in a sun bed it is important not to wear moisturizers or perfume as these can be irritated by the UV rays. Instead, take a shower and wait until afterward to apply products to your skin. Take your time when tanning your skin – often little and often can be the best way to develop a good tan and avoid burning. Gradually build up the time that you spend tanning. Often it is worth waiting two or three days before returning to tanning to ensure that your skin is ready to be exposed again.
While those with darker skin can be less prone to skin damage from tanning than those with fair skin, it is important to stay safe when in the sun whatever your skin type. Wear suncream if you intend to be outside for a significant length of time, and try not to tan too often as it has been linked to aging skin. Instead, always approach the sun with caution and take the time to find out how your skin can be protected.