Tanning and Safe Alternatives to Get One
Summer is around the corner, and to many, that means getting ready for that iconic honey glow tan that are the product of envy from fashion magazines, and celebrities alike. Which may symbolize more than what we see. However, there are several considerations to keep in mind before going full throttle into basking in the sun. We will discuss, the use of products like Carroten, why it is important to understand the impact of the UV index, if sunburns can turn into tans, and if it is a good idea. In addition to, other considerations including if it is safe to spray tan during pregnancy.
Effective Sun Tanning Products (It isn’t what you would expect)
Let’s start with tanning products such as, Carroten. Carroten is a brand of sun care products that offers a range of products including sunscreens, after-sun lotions, and self-tanners. The brand's products are formulated with ingredients like carrot oil and other natural extracts that are intended to enhance and prolong a tan while also protecting the skin from sun damage. However, it is important to note that while these products may aid in achieving a desired tan, they do not offer complete protection from the harmful effects of UV radiation. The fact is, that the “tan” is from UV radiation seeping through the skin producing melanin to prevent further damage to your skin. There are no ifs, buts or maybes.
Can Sunburned Skin Turn Tan?
One common misconception about sun tanning is that sunburns will eventually turn into tans. However, this is not entirely accurate. Sunburns occur when the skin is overexposed to UV radiation, leading to redness, pain, and peeling. Depending on how severe the sunburn is, some may notice a slight tan following a sunburn, this is not an ideal method for achieving a healthy, lasting tan. In fact, repeated sunburns can significantly increase the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.
Sunscreen Vs Sunblock
In fact, sunscreen lotions can still produce a desired tan without the physical pain, and skin peeling that sun tanning oils and tanning products can produce. Trust me, this is not something you’ll want to experience repeatedly. Furthermore, there is a misconception of what sunscreen, and sunblock are. Often, they are used interchangeably. However, there is a vast difference. Put simply, sunblock, or physical blockers reflects both UV-A and UV-B rays, while sunscreen or chemical absorbers can only block UV-B rays.
These are usually characterized by its form, where physical blockers are usually made of finely powdered minerals such as, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that acts as a reflector or shield between your skin and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It is also usually white and greasy. While chemical absorbers are clear and easy to apply. Which absorbs the UV radiation before reaching the skin. Furthermore, physical blockers or sunblock generally did not cause skin irritation or allergies, while chemical absorbers or sunscreen were more irritating, and allergy prone.
What is SPF and How does UV Index Work Together?
So, what is SPF ratings or otherwise called Sun Protection Factor? SPF is a rating from 15 to 100. To maximize the effectiveness of the two types (physical blockers, and chemical absorbers) brands usually mix and match both sunscreen and sunblock. To understand this clearly, we should examine what UVB and UVA rays are. UVB rays are the root cause of sunburns, and skin cancer. While UVA causes premature aging, eye damage, skin cancer and can lower your body’s ability to fight off illnesses. None of which, you want to be exposed to. But is SPF 100 better than anything lower? Well, not really, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, they recommend a minimum of 30 SPF or higher, which blocks 97% to 98% of UVB radiation. While SPF 100 blocks 99% of UVB radiation.
The UV index is a measure of the strength of UV radiation from the sun. It is often used as a guide for individuals to gauge the potential for sun damage and sunburn while spending time outdoors. The UV Index scale is a range from 1 to 11, where 1-2 is low, 3-5 is moderate, 6-7 is high, and 8-10 is very high. While a UV index of 4 is considered moderate, it is still possible to achieve a tan with this level of UV radiation. However, it is important to note that tanning at any UV index can still pose risks to skin health, and protective measures should always be taken.
This does not necessarily determine how much sunscreen with what SPF level you should apply. The Fitzpatrick scale is a better determinant, which “measures your natural sensitivity to sunlight and how susceptible you are to sun damage.” This is called the skin phototype. This means that individuals may be more prone to skin damage and skin cancer than others, depending on factors such as skin type (skin phototype) and family history. For example, individuals with fair skin, light eyes, and a history of easily getting sunburns may be more susceptible to skin damage from UV radiation. These factors can be attributed to the amount of melanin or pigmentation. This helps but does not make one immune to UV radiation damage.
In addition to using sunscreen and other protective measures, individuals who engage in sun tanning activities should also be mindful of their exposure time. Spending too much time in the sun, especially during peak hours when the UV index is highest, can significantly increase the risk of skin damage and skin cancer. It is recommended to limit sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm when the sun's rays are strongest.
Spray Tanning / DIY Self-Tanning Alternatives
It is also important to note that there are alternatives to traditional sun tanning methods that can still provide a healthy glow without the risks associated with UV radiation. For example, self-tanning products like lotions, creams, and sprays can be used to achieve a temporary tan without exposing the skin to UV radiation. These products work by temporarily staining the skin with a pigment called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with the amino acids in the outermost layer of skin to produce a tan-like color.
Spray Tanning During Pregnancy
Another option for achieving a tan is using spray tanning products. However, there are concerns about the safety of spray tanning during pregnancy. While some experts believe that spray tanning is generally safe during pregnancy, it is important to note that the ingredients in these products can potentially be absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream. It is recommended that pregnant individuals consult with their healthcare provider before using spray tanning products to ensure that they are not putting their health or the health of their baby at risk.
Skin Cancer Prevention Measures
Moreover, it is important to regularly check the skin for any changes, such as new moles or growths, as they could be signs of skin cancer. Early detection is key in treating skin cancer, so it is recommended to see a dermatologist for regular skin exams, especially for individuals with a history of skin cancer or a high risk for developing it.
For those who rather not get tanned, we would recommend applying sunblock as well as, Avarelle’s Brightening Complex Cream, which will allow your skin to keep a more even and brighter tone.
Finally, it is worth noting that protecting the skin from UV radiation is not just important for aesthetic reasons, but also for overall health. Skin damage from UV radiation can lead to premature aging, sun spots, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Therefore, it is important to take precautions and protect the skin from UV radiation, not only to achieve a desired tan but also to maintain overall skin health.