Tanning Myths

Myths on Tanning
(info compliments of California Tan)

MYTH “I’ve heard that indoor tanning is more harmful than tanning outdoors because the UV light exposure is more intense.”
FACT People tanning indoors are exposed to a scientifically calibrated amount of UV light. When used according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s exposure guidelines (posted on each machine), tanning beds are designed to maximize tanning and minimize burning. Conversely, tanning outdoors is an unregulated environment. There are many factors that have to be considered when you tan outdoors: geography, time of day, weather conditions, the seasons, and the ozone layer. Remember the best way to safeguard yourself from sun damage is to wear appropriate levels of SPF sunscreens outdoors – even if you already have a tan. You should also know that, even with sunscreen protection, UV exposure can still lead to skin cancer and premature aging, even if you don’t burn.
MYTH “My friend said she heard that tanning bakes your internal organs. Sometimes I notice a strange smell after I tan. Could this be my organs baking?”
FACT The UV light from a sun bed is similar to UV light from the sun, and cannot penetrate deeper than the skin to harm internal organs. The odor you may notice is what’s commonly known as the “after tan” odor, a common occurrence when tanning indoors or outdoors, which is caused by harmless bacteria. California Tan lotions contain the Biosaccharide Complex, which helps prevent after tan odor.
MYTH “I have been told from several of my friends that showering directly after tanning will “wash” your tan away. They say its best to wait about 3 hours after tanning to shower.”
FACT Taking a shower after tanning will not wash your tan away. A natural tan takes 24-48 hours to develop. The tanning process occurs within the epidermis when melanocyte cells are stimulated by ultraviolet light that causes them to produce the pigment melanin. Melanin production results in the tanned appearance of the skin and is the skin’s natural defense against the sun and over-exposure, i.e. sun-burning. Melanin travels to the surface, where it eventually flakes off. This process allows us to develop new skin every four to eight weeks. Keeping your skin hydrated and exfoliated will help maintain a more radiant and healthy-looking tan. 
MYTH “My friend told me I should stop tanning because I could get a sexually transmitted disease like AIDS from the tanning bed.”
FACT The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that this is physically impossible. The AIDS virus (as well as other serious viral diseases) does not live outside the body. This fear may come from the fact than many people lay nude in sun beds during their tanning session (in order to eliminate tan lines). However, even if there is profuse sweating, the AIDS virus, or other venereal diseases, cannot be passed to the next user. Additionally, tanning salons are required by law to disinfect the acrylic liner in the tanning bed between each use. 
MYTH “I heard that in order to get a suntan you have to burn first.”
FACT A sunburn does not fade into a tan. A sunburn indicates over exposure to UV-light and actually damages the skin, leaving it inflamed (as indicated by the skin’s red coloring and sensitivity), dry, chapped and visibly unappealing. In fact, a sunburn can lead to premature aging and potentially skin cancer. Always practice moderation when tanning and use the proper sunscreen protection when tanning outdoors and the proper exposure time that is recommended for your personal skin type when tanning indoors. 
MYTH “All skin types tan or burn in the same amount of time.”
FACT Not all skin types are alike. Some people tan more easily than others or burn more easily than others. For example, a Skin Type 1 person with fair skin, red hair and freckles will burn easily, resulting in peeling and blistering without any indication that he or she has tanned. On the other hand, a Skin Type 4 person with dark hair and olive skin will tan very well and quite easily even with a minimal amount of sun exposure. It is important to know: repeated exposure of unprotected skin while tanning may increase the risk of skin aging, skin cancer and harmful effects to the skin even if you don’t burn. 
MYTH “People with medium to dark skin never burn.”
FACT Although people with medium to darker skin tend to tan more easily than others, they can still get sunburns. They can also suffer from overexposure to UV-light. It is still important for these skin types to use sunscreens and avoid being in the sun longer than they need to be.