Medbroadcast – Powered by MediResource
 Search

Go
 Browse alphabetically
ABCDEFGHIJKLMN
OPQRSTUVWXYZ
HEALTH TOPICS
Family & Child Health
Men's Health
Women's Health
Seniors' Health
Addiction
Allergy
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Arthritis (Rheumatoid)
Asthma
Atrial Fibrillation
Baby Health
Back Health
Bedwetting
Bladder (Overactive)
Brain Health
Cancer
Childhood Vaccinations
Cholesterol
Crohn's & Colitis
Cold and Flu
COPD NEW!
Cosmetic Procedures
Depression NEW!
Diabetes
Digestive Health
Ear Health
Eating Disorders
Eye Health
Flu (Seasonal)
Fertility
Fitness
Healthy Skin
Heart
High Blood Pressure
HPV
Hyperhidrosis
Incontinence
Infection
Kidney Health
Lung Health
Medications and your Health
Menopause
Mental Health
Multiple Sclerosis NEW!
Natural and Complementary Therapy
Nutrition
Obesity
Oral Care
Pain
Pregnancy
Psoriasis
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
Seasonal Health
Sexual Health
Sleep Health
Stroke Risk Reduction
Smoking
Weight Management
Workplace Health
Yeast Infection
All health channels

STAY CONNECTED
RESOURCES
Ask an Expert
Clinical Trials
Find a Specialist
Health features
Human Atlas Videos
News
Tools


Condition Info Drug Info Tests and Procedures Natural Products Ask an Expert Support Groups Clinical Trials
Home Bookmark Page Send to a Friend Sante Chez Nous Subscribe
Healthy Skin > Sun safety > Sunless tanning: glow or no-go?
Healthy Skin
Overview
The path to healthy skin
Sun safety
Healthy teenage skin
Younger-looking skin
Hyperhidrosis
Human Atlas Videos
Sun damage: the basics
Sun protection: sunscreen and protective clothing
Sunburn
Sunscreen: a user's guide
Skin cancer facts
Self-examination: when to see your doctor
Tips for fitting sun protection into your makeup routine
Medications and your skin
Dermatologists take aim at skin cancer 
Sunless tanning: glow or no-go?
Healthy Skin resources
Health features
Health tools
Support groups
Related medications
Related conditions
Natural products
Discussion forums



Sunless tanning: glow or no-go?

By now, most of us are pretty well-versed on the perils of sun overexposure. The sun can age your skin, wrinkling and sagging what was once smooth and taut. And overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays puts you at high risk of skin cancer, and those with fair skin are especially vulnerable.

While most people are smart about applying high SPF sunscreens (at least SPF 15 or higher) and taking to the shade, many feel the pressure to live up to a golden standard set by celebrities. You see them in the magazines with their teeny bathing suits and all-over tans. While it's best to protect yourself from the sun and accept your natural skin colour, celebrity standards compel people to spend millions each year on self-tanning solutions, spray-on salon tans, and sessions on sunbeds. Is a "healthy tan" still a myth, or could one of these sunless options give you a safer glow?

The bottle: self-tanning lotions

  • Do you know what goes into that glow? Most self-tanning lotions contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient. DHA, a colourless sugar, interacts with the dead cells on the top layer of your skin and causes a temporary change in colour.
  • Should you go for the glow? If you really want a tan, it seems that self-tanning lotions offer a safe alternative to the sun. Some people may experience irritations or allergies, but as long as you use self-tanners properly, the health risks are minimal.

The mist: salon spray-on and airbrush tans

  • Do you know what goes into this glow? Many tanning parlours now offer spray-on tans. Some varieties get airbrushed onto your skin, while others require you to step into a chamber where you're then sprayed by bursts of tanning mist. Wondering what that mist is made of? Like most self-tanning lotions, spray-on and airbrush tans contain DHA as their active ingredient.
  • Should you go for the glow? Spray-on and airbrushed tans pose about the same risks as self-tanning solutions. That is, possible irritation or allergic reactions may occur when the tanning solution is applied to your skin. Safe, reputable salons should offer you protection to cover your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the mist from being inhaled or drifting into sensitive mucous membranes.

The bed: tanning booths and sunbeds

  • Do you know what goes into that glow? The clam-shaped tanning beds found in many salons and spas pump out UV rays on par with the sun. Like the sun, these rays trigger melanin production in your skin. Melanin gives your skin its colour.
  • Should you go for the glow? Stretching out in a tanning bed exposes your skin to as much potential damage as lounging beneath the sun. The new melanin triggered by the UV radiation from the tanning bed forces the skin to darken. This process can damage the DNA of the cells and put you at higher risk of skin cancer. In the privacy of a tanning bed, people are more likely to go for that all-over tan and bare more of their skin to this intense UV radiation.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that tanning salons post large, clear warnings of these dangers and require their customers to sign consent forms Avoid tanning beds or else limit your exposure. If you have fair skin or a family history of skin cancer, stay away from tanning beds all together.

The glow no-no's

Tanning pills. When ingested, the so-called tanning pill releases a pigment into the body that gets absorbed into the skin and into internal organs. Banned in the US but still available in some places, tanning pills have been linked to hepatitis and yellow deposits in the eyes.

The "base tan" myth. It's a refrain often overheard in tanning salons: "I'm going on vacation, so I need to get a base tan." A base tan offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of, at best, 2 to 4 and provides no defence against skin cancer.

Underage tanning. Skin protection should be the priority for parents with babies, kids, and even teenagers. Tanning beds emit too much UV risk and should not be used by anyone under the age of 18. And though sunless tanning lotions with DHA are deemed safe for topical use, they may irritate youthful skin. As with any skincare products, sunless tanners should be kept out of the reach of very young children.

DIY sunbeds. Some spas, salons, resorts, and other places offer do-it-yourself (DIY), self-service tanning beds. The risk here is that without a trained professional to supervise tanning sessions, people may overdo it by staying too long under UV rays that are too intense.

Foregoing sunscreen. Unless it's specified as a high SPF product, sunless tanning solutions don't offer protection from UV sun damage.

Amy Toffelmire





Advertisement

Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.

Hot Topics - Bedwetting, Depression, Flu (Seasonal), Healthy Skin, Incontinence, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Stroke Risk Reduction

Condition and disease information is written and reviewed by the MedBroadcast Clinical Team.


The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.
© 1996 - 2014 MediResource Inc. - MediResource reaches millions of Canadians each year.