Is Tanning Bad for the Skin?

Do you want a short answer? Yes. There is no such thing as a safe tan. In fact, even when you turn a little bit of color after being outside for one day, that’s still damaging to your skin cells. But, there are a lot of different opinions floating around out there, and we’re here to set them straight. Basically, any time you go outside and your skin changes color (whether that’s red or tan), you’re damaging your skin. And, you’re putting yourself at risk for Melanoma or other skin cancers. Below we discuss different myths about tanning, what it does to the skin, and how to protect yourself.

Myth #1 – Tanning In A Booth Is Okay Because It’s Not Real Sun

Okay, so hopefully at this point you know this isn’t true. But, if you go into a tanning salon, you’ll hear the same fake information about tanning booths. Many tanning salons try to make you believe that laying in the booth won’t hurt your skin the way the sun does. When, in fact, the tanning booth is so concentrated and so close to your skin it can actually increase your chances of getting Melanoma by 75% with just one use!

Myth #2 ­– Tanning Outside Is Okay

Now, there are some people who claim that tanning outside is a lot better for your skin than tanning in a booth is. But, we’ll say this again. Truly, there is no such thing as a safe tan. Every time you tan your body, you’re causing damage to the skin cells. And, that leads to things like wrinkles, fine lines, sun spots, and crow’s feet. And, of course, it increases your risk for Melanoma, which is one of the most serious types of cancers. So, use broad spectrum SPF every time you go outside.

Myth #3 – Getting “A Little Color” Is Good For You

There are people out there who tell you that you need the sun to get your Vitamin D. In fact, many people still report that you should spend around 15 minutes out in the sun every day. But, that’s simply not true. You can get your Vitamin D source from food like dairy products. And, you can take a supplement if you’re still too low in that vitamin. However, even 15 minutes in the sun can cause damage to the skin and premature aging.

Okay, So What Does Tanning Do To The Skin?

We’ll give you the rundown of the myriad of different ways that tanning can hurt your skin. And, keep in mind, these are the reasons it’s so important to protect your skin every day. In fact, no matter where you live, you should be wearing sunscreen every day all year around. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your skin and doing one or more of the following to it:

  • Premature Aging – You probably have heard this before. But, any time your skin is out in the sun, it can cause damage to it. Because, UV rays actually create free radicals in the skin, which breaks down collagen and elastin over time. So, the more you tan, the more wrinkles you’ll have when you’re older. And, it’s incredibly hard to erase those wrinkles and sun spots when they come from the sun.
  • Skin Cancer – This is actually the most common form of cancer in the United States. And, the number of cases are continuing to go up every single year. Basically, skin cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. The three main kinds of skin cancer are Melanoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma, and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. The latter two are highly curable, but Melanoma is incredibly dangerous because it’s hard to control, and it kills around 10,000 people each year.

Bottom Line

So, if we haven’t scared you enough to avoid the sun, we hope these tips make protecting your skin easier. First, always wear a broad-spectrum SPF when you got outside. At the very least, you should protect your face and hands, as even those are exposed in the winter months. Then, when you go to the beach, you need at least a SPF of 30 or more. And, you have to reapply every two hours, or more often if you’re swimming or sweating. Finally, when you do go outside, wear sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing as much as possible. That way, you’ll cut your risk for skin damage, premature aging, and skin cancer. You only get one body, so you have to take care of it inside and out.