What About the Risks?
More and more, we hear studies warning against excessive sun exposure. Recent increases in the statistics of skin cancer have some people very nervous when it comes to exposing their skin at all to the sun. However, direct sunlight can be beneficial for the human body in many ways.
Dr. Robert S. Stern, Chair of the Department of Dermatology at Harvard wrote an article in The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide entitled “Benefits of Moderate Sun Exposure”. In his article he calls people who are so concerned about getting skin cancer that they stay inside or cover every bit of skin up “solar-phobes”. He shows that there are a lot of other factors involved with skin cancer, besides just exposure to the sun. These factors include your genes, your skin type (people with very white skin who cannot tan are more at risk), as well as the “dose” of the sun exposure and its timing. Several studies have suggested that suddenly getting a lot of sun is more dangerous than steady exposure over time.
The same UVB wavelengths of sun that CAN cause sunburn if over-exposure occurs have very positive benefits when in moderation. They kick off the chemical and metabolic chain reaction that produces Vitamin D in our bodies. Research shows that many people have low Vitamin D levels. There is a well-documented relationship between low Vitamin D levels and poor bone health. Now links have been made to everything from Multiple Sclerosis to Prostate Cancer due to low levels of Vitamin D. Getting some sun may also shake off the wintertime blues. Research suggests that light hitting your skin, not just your eyes, helps reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
In indoor tanning, most salons put a limit on how long you may stay in a bed or booth, thus reducing the likeliness of a burn. Many salons also prohibit visiting the facilities in 2 consecutive days, to help reduce the likelihood of over-exposure. Ultimately, though, it's your responsibility to protect your body and be moderate with your tanning habits. Remember, the best looking and most even tans are results of short but regular periods of sun exposure.
Also keep in mind that many tanning beds now boast UVA only bulbs. UVB's are the rays primarily responsible for the burn reaction in one's skin. By eliminating these harmful rays, you reduce the risks.
Nobody wants to get skin cancer, but we’ve gone from sun worship to sun dread. Dr. Stern and others say there is a middle ground that includes using protective eyewear, as well as a sunscreen and following the age-old mantra: "everything is okay in moderation".
But can you get a tan with sunscreen on? Even the most die-hard tanning advocate will condone the use of some sort of protection on your skin. Metro Tan has a wide selection of such products. Ask the staff for recommendations and they will accommodate you. Many people get beautiful, even, and healthy looking tans with sunscreen on.
Another protection that cannot be overlooked is the necessity of wearing tanning goggles. The Food and Drug Administration requires all tanning salons to direct patrons to use them. This is because just closing your eyes is not enough! Closing your eyes will NOT block the UV rays from reaching your retina and possibly damaging it over time. This is because our eyelids are too thin. These rays can change the entire structure of your lens, possibly leading to cataracts. So, without question, always remember to wear your tanning goggles. These goggles are very small and just rest over your eyes with a thin strap crossing your nose. You may even find available goggle stickers that you apply over your eyelids. Whichever option you choose, remember…no tan is worth risking your sight for. Eyewear must be certified 21CFR. We offer a selection of goggles that meet these Federal standards.
Lips are another area of concern. Lips do not produce melanin, so always wear lip balms with sunscreen.
For those who are still worried about any negative effects from UV ray exposure, Metro Tan offers UV Free Tanning- alternative Airbrush Tanning options. If you need to be exquisitely tanned in an instant, here's the answer. Our instant tan techniques mist your body with premium bronzers, moisturizers and DHA for a smooth, natural-looking, beautiful tan in an instant. If you have trouble tanning, this UV-free solution is right for you. It allows you to choose the perfect shade for an even tan that lasts 5 to 7 days. UV Free tanning is a great way to prepare for a special event or night on the town. Ask our staff for more information!