8 answers to the most frequently asked questions about tanning
What is ultraviolet radiation?
3% of the solar spectrum is invisible. The rest is made up of visible infrared rays that includes 3 types of rays: UVC, UVB and UVA.
Short, they are filtered by the atmospheric ozone layer. The hospitals use them to sterilize surgical equipment.
Medium, they stimulate the production of the melanin in the skin.
Longer, they can reach the lower layers of skin.
Thanks to a more sophisticated technology allowing a good mix of UVA and UVB, sunbeds simulate the solar radiation while minimizing the risk of erythema and sunstroke commonly known as "sunburn".
What is tanning?
The ability to develop a tan depends of each person. However, the process is the same for everyone.
On contact of UVB, melanocytes produce melanin pigments that surround the nuclei of creatine cells protecting DNA. The skin thickens and forms a natural shield against the overexposure.
Then UVA oxidize and creates melanin that determines the degree of tan. It gradually fades when the epidermal cells migrate to the surface of the skin, about 28 days later.
Is it the same to tan inside or outside?
Although ultraviolet radiation is similar in both situations, one can never accurately predict the intensity of a tan taken outside because of changing factors: time of day, season, altitude, cloudiness , pollution, wind, depletion of the ozone layer, proximity of the equator, and so on.
In a tanning salon, the results are controlled, therefore predictable.
What are the advantages tanning?
Vitamin D3 produced by UVB helps the body maintain a healthy level of calcium and phosphorus which help prevent rickets, osteoporosis and other physical ailments and skin. Dr. Alan B. Fleischer has clinically demonstrated that it can alleviate psoriasis.
Extensive research even suggests that sun exposure plays a crucial role in the prevention or inhibition of certain cancers such as breast, prostate, ovaries, colon and blood (ref.: "Beneficial effects of sun exposure on cancer mortality "by Gordon Ainsleigh, Preventive Medicine, 1993).
On the other hand, anyone in North America has never came close to SAD in February? Doctors treat this affective disorder with a light that prevents the brain to produce the melatonin hormone, which acts as a sedative on the body.
Finally, a gradual and moderate pigmentation is the best natural protection against solar attacks during your holidays at the beach.
Some scientific data suggest that chronic overexposure to the sun without adequate protection (e.g. filter) can cause permanent skin damage such as premature aging of the skin, growth of stains and keratoses, which can be precancerous.
See a dermatologist if you notice changes in the shape of your moles or if a wound refuses to heal.
The risk factors favoring skin cancers are:
- People who have abused the sun
- Individuals low pigmentation, among rouquins and dyed blond milky
- Compounds tar, creosote, arsenic and / or radium when côtoyés regularly
- Tobacco use and high-fat diets
Can we associate tanning and melanoma?
Although some studies suggest a correlation between sunburn and intense development of malignant melanoma, other studies show an inverse relationship.
In an article published in the International Journal of Cancer in 1989, Canadian researchers confirmed they noticed a lower incidence of melanoma among workers working mostly outside as well as a greater concentration of this type of cancer in the people working inside.
Hence the conclusion that a constant and moderate exposure is beneficial. A clinical study conducted among 2 000 patients showed that there was no link between melanoma and sun exposure ( "Occupational and Malignant Melanoma of the Skin." DF Austen and P. Reynolds).
How to evaluate a tanning salon?
Do they display a certificate confirming that staff had followed the training courses recognized by the ASBQ?
At your first visit, the adviser should identify your skin type. There are 6 skin type, the first being the lightest, the sixth being the darkest. The adviser should ask you question about your recent tanning history and should fill this information in a score sheet.
Advisers should provides you goggles with opaque windows and insist that you wear them.
The adviser should suggest a tanning bed and a time exposure corresponding to your current pigmentation. The duration of the session should be controlled by a timer. The adviser should notify you that each sessions should be spaced at least 48 hours.
The adviser should ask you if you take any medication and you should tell you about the photo-sensitizing agents in order to prevent any adverse allergic reaction: psoralen, diuretics, contraceptive pills, tranquilizers, antibiotics, medication for high blood pressure, citrus fruits, celery, cosmetics, some soaps and sunscreens, and so on.