Do's and Don'ts of Tanning - Old
Whether you’re tanning at the beach, enjoying the outdoors or working in the yard, there are some important things to know that can potentially save your skin from sun damage. Ultraviolet (UV) rays that are reflected from the sun release endorphins to the body. These “feel good” chemicals give the body a natural high, sometimes causing a person to crave further exposure. Along with the body’s emotional boost, compliments such as you look “healthier” or “slimmer” often are heard by those who tan, making a darker skin tone even more desirable. A tan is not healthy; in fact, it’s the opposite and means skin has been damaged. When exposed to UV rays, there are certain precautions that are necessary to ensure healthy skin and prevention of skin cancer.
The ASDS offers the following tips on how to protect the skin from sun damage:
- Do know your skin type: Depending on the pigment of skin, the likelihood of burning in the sun can vary and so should the level of sun protection factor (SPF) in sunscreen lotion. For example, if you are fair-skinned with freckles, your skin is more sensitive to UV rays. Visit your dermatologic surgeon annually for screening of your skin to determine what precautions need to take place.
- Do use sunscreen daily: No matter what skin type you have or how your body reacts to the sun, you should always wear sunscreen containing at least SPF 30. About one ounce (a shot glass full for your entire body) of sunscreen should be reapplied two or three times a day. People don’t realize they can still get burned in cooler climates or when they’re not in direct sunlight or even on cloudy days.
- Do wear protective clothing: In addition to wearing wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses, a growing body of research shows that a variety of everyday apparel, such as unbleached cotton or tightly woven T-shirts or shorts offer excellent sun protection. Additionally, there is also high-SPF clothing that has recently become available, which contains colorless compounds, fluorescent brighteners or specially treated resins that absorb UV rays and often provides an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Don’t expose yourself to sunlight if there is a dramatic change to the skin: Skin discoloration, a changing mole and a rough red patch are all early signs of skin cancer. If you notice any of these, you should visit a dermatologic surgeon who is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat skin cancer. To find a dermatologic surgeon in your area, click here.
- Don’t think that a burn ends with aloe vera: Aloe vera is only a temporary relief for sunburn and does not decrease your chance of skin damage. Skin cancer develops slowly over time. With each sunburn you get, your chance of developing skin cancer increases. It might take up to 20 years for a burn to turn into a cancerous spot on the skin.
- Don’t believe that breaks while sunbathing will decrease sunburn: Taking breaks to swim or go for a snack while sunbathing only soothes hot skin and does not prevent a burn. Sunburn is accumulated from the whole day; the only way to prevent exposure is to head for the shade.