My sister was blessed with that kind of skin that seems to tan with the first glimmer of summer sunlight. I, on the other hand (gene?), have the skin of a Victorian character from Charles Dickens novel. I don’t tan; I crisp when out in the sun. And I’ve often been tempted to try indoor tanning to give myself sexy summertime skin.
Unfortunately for me and my white legs, indoor tanning is just as harmful to skin as getting a tan from natural sunlight. The American Academy of Dermatology Association opposes indoor tanning and reports indoor tanning equipment, which includes all artificial light sources such as beds, lamps, bulbs and booths, emits both UVA and UVB radiation. The amount of the radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to the sun and in some cases might be stronger. Yikes!
And along with the serious risk of skin cancer from tanning and sunburn, the Food and Drug Administration notes that tanning also causes:
- Premature aging. Tanning causes the skin to lose elasticity and wrinkle prematurely. This skin damage may not show up until many years after you’ve had a tan or sunburn.
- Immune suppression. UVB radiation may suppress proper functioning of the body’s immune system and the skin’s natural defenses, leaving you more vulnerable to diseases, including skin cancer.
- Eye damage. Exposure to UV radiation can cause irreversible damage to the eyes.
- Allergic reaction. Some people who are especially sensitive to UV radiation may develop an itchy red rash and other adverse effects.
With all that noted, I’ll pass on the indoor tan. And please pass the sunscreen — I’ll cover my ghost-like legs with linen pants or self-tanning lotion.
What do you do to look radiant, while protecting your skin?