There are a lot of damaging things the sun can do to you and your body. Over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause significant damage to your skin including but not limited to deep set wrinkles early on in life. UV rays can be so damaging to skin as they penetrate your skin and damage the collagen. For those who don't know collagen are the building blocks of your skin and keep it tight and looking young. Once you damage the collagen in your skin it is damaged for good and cannot be restored or rejuvenated. Studies have shown that 80% of skin damage is caused by over exposure from the sun and freckles and sun spots can form in the aftermath of sun damage. You can find freckles or sun spots everywhere from your face to your hands and legs. People who sunbathe regularly will often find these spots all over their body. Many people think a sun tan is a healthy look for their skin and makes them feel more confident in their day to day lives. However many people who tan on a regular basis are completely uneducated on the effects of the activity.
When your skin is exposed to the sun's UV rays, your skin's melanocytes ( A pigment-producing cell in the skin) produce melanin, the dark pigment that creates that golden tan that we all strive for. What a lot of people don't know is that a tan is your skin's attempt to prevent UV rays from doing any further damage to the sensitive skin cells in your epidermis ( the outer layer of the skin). Getting a sun tan does not protect your skin from getting a sunburn in the future by any means but it does provide a small amount of protection for your skin. A sun tan is equivalent to a lotion with only SPF 4 and too much exposure to the sun, even with a tan can cause a sunburn. A sunburn is the result of overexposure to the sun's UV rays, and as we all know can be a painful experience. When you get a sunburn, it is the result of UV rays penetrating deep into the layers of your skin and killing the living skin cells. There is also evidence that shows a sunburn can lead to DNA damage in extreme cases.
If you continue to get a sunburn it can dramatically increase your risk of developing skin cancer as this damage cam alter the genetic makeup of your skin. Another risk of too much sun is eye damage. Too much sunlight can harm your eyes by damaging the lens and even the retina. Overexposure to the sun's UV rays can also increase your risk of developing cataracts. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and will make all images blurry and out of focus. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness and a great many cases can be prevented. Overexposure to the sun while in areas with heavy snow can also cause a condition known as snow blindness. If you spend a lot of time outdoors participating in winter sports for example, without eye protection you can be affected with snow blindness that can leave you temporarily blind and in extreme pain. This is caused when the surface of the retina essentially gets a sunburn.
Studies have shown that the average person's lifetime their chance of obtaining skin cancer is 1 in 5. There are three main types of skin cancer:
1) Basal Cell: Basal cell cancer is one of the most common skin cancers in America and resembles a sore that won't heal. If detected and treated early, basal cell skin cancer has a 95% cure rate.
2) Squamous Cell: Squamous skin cancer cells are raised bumps on the skin, usually scaly or crusty in texture. Just like Basal Skin Cancer it also has a 95% cure rate if treated early.
3) Melanoma: Melanoma is the most lethal of all three skin cancers. Melanoma has the ability to spread all over your body and is often found on areas of the body not exposed to the sun like the soles of the feet and in between the toes. Studies show that more than 80% of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma and that it only takes two severe sunburns before the age of 18 to double your risk of developing it.
In all actuality there are really only two types of sunblock, physical and chemical. People have been protecting their skin from the sun for thousands of years actually. It's even said that ancient Egyptians used jasmine as a sunscreen, and the ancient Greeks rubbed olive oil on their skin. In the 1800s, chestnut oil was widely used as a sunscreen in folk medicine. The first effective, commercially available sunscreen wasn't available until the 1900's when an Austrian chemist, developed Gletscher Creme. Today, there are a variety of sunscreen products on the market. Physical sunscreens act as a shield and reflect both UVA and UVB light and contain ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Chemical sunscreens absorb UVA or UVB rays and contain ingredients such as aovobenzone and benzophenone. People choose their sunblocks based upon the levels of SPF (UV Protection Factor). The SPF level tells you how long you can be in the sun. For example, if you use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, you can be in the sun 15 times longer that you can without sunscreen before burning. Most dermatologists strongly recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF count of at least 15 or greater, year-round for all skin types. It is common sense that if you are fair-skinned and sunburn easily, you may want to select a sunscreen with a higher SPF to provide additional protection. There are different types of sunscreen ranging from creams, oils, lotions and gels. If you choose to use an oil sunscreen keep in mind that most oils do not contain sufficient amounts of protection and usually have an SPF of less than 2. If you choose a gel sunscreen they tend to sweat off and, therefore need to be reapplied more frequently, which if you use a lot can become very costly. If you are a person that sweats a lot or does a lot of water activities you might want to choose a waterproof sunblock.
Everybody always wants to know the easy ways to get a tan, and there are a lot of different tips to be able to get the tan you have always wanted. One of the best ways to make sure you get the tan you want is to exfoliate with a lufa. Here are some tips for using it to get the best results:
1) If you exfoliate your skin you have to make sure that the sun you are getting goes to your fresh layer of skin and not the dead skin that is ready to fall off.
2) You never want to scrub your skin too hard, just apply enough pressure to get all the dead skin off.
3) Another easy tip is to always make sure to apply sun tan lotion after, this will keep your skin moisturized and protected.
If you want to get a really good tan you want a lotion with an SPF of at least 8 or 10. The good thing about wearing a suntan lotion is that it allows your body to gradually get a tan instead of tanning very quickly and then getting a burn. If you slowly get a tan your tan will last a lot longer than if you just achieve it all in one sitting. As a general rule of thumb you always want to tan for only one or two hours per day. Contrary to popular belief you do not need a lot of hours of sun to get a good tan, but it is important that you get one to two hours a day EVERY day in order to get and keep the tan you want. You also want to be able to tan your whole body and if possible get a reflective blanket to lay on, that way you can get your sides and the inside of your legs.
The sun comes from directly above and the most impressive tan is one that is smooth and even around your whole body. Don't forget to turn over every 15-30 minutes to allow for an even tan. Another thing to remember is to not over shower and if you plan on tanning in the afternoon make sure that you only take a quick shower when done to just wash off the suntan lotion. Also, when you shower never use soap except on heavy perspiration areas such as your underarms. Soap is not a good idea for your skin as soap will dry you skin and may peel off some of tan you have been working so hard for. Sun tanning is all about the outer layer of your skin, so make sure that skin is healthy and ready each time you go to tan.
One of the best things that you can do for your skin is to drink a lot of water. Don't just drink water while you are out in the sun working on that tan, but make sure that you start your day with a big glass of water and stay hydrated throughout your day. Remember that you never want to get a sunburn as it will kill the skin cells that you are trying to get color to. Never ever let you skin get burned as you will need to wait for the skin to naturally lose its color and then start your consecutive days of sun again. We have all failed at this time and time again by not being patient about our sun tanning, and by being careless with our application of suntan lotion we try and rush the process. If you follow these tanning tips I am sure you will get the color you have always wanted. Make sure when you are out in the sun you don't get too concerned about how little color you are getting, as the bulk of it will show up four to six hours later.
Tanning beds can also provide UVA and UVB rays that replicate the sun's light. There are many benefits, as well as misconceptions about indoor tanning units. It is extremely important to be properly educated about your skin and how to get a healthy glow from a tanning bed. Natural sunlight exposure is healthy in moderation, and the same goes for tanning beds. Vitamin D is known as "the sunshine vitamin" and is important for healthy bone growth and calcium absorption. According to a recent article on tanningtruth.com, studies show that indoor tanners have a higher Vitamin D level. Getting a good tan in a tanning bed uses the same rules as outdoor tanning:
1) Always exfoliate before tanning.
2) Always remember to take short showers.
3) The most important rules are to drink lots of water and moisturize!
If you don't have the time to tan in the sun or a tanning booth every day, you can always turn to spray tanning. Spray tanning is the smart, fast way to get a deep, dark tan without spending time in a tanning bed or sitting in the sun. Just like tanning outside or indoors, you want to remember to prepare your skin. That means exfoliate and hydrate! All spray tans features Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active ingredient that darkens the skin's pigment. If you are choosing to spray tan you always want to keep in mind that a person with very fair skin is not going to get the same results from spray tanning as someone who has dark skin to begin with. You can either get a spray tan from home or at a salon and if you choose to spray tan at home you can buy it anywhere from $10-$70. You always want to remember that before you spray tan at home, it's imperative to set down either towels or newspapers. It might be a good idea to get the help of a friend for hard to reach areas like the back. You always want to move in quick, even strokes when working with a spray tan, and move from the feet up to the chest and neck. If you find that self-spray tanning is a chore, you might want to consider going to a salon to have it applied. Spray tanning at a salon can be worth the money because a professional will apply the self-tanning solution, or a professional machine that will spray the tanner on in an even manner. If you choose to get a spray tan from a salon this can be pretty costly, anywhere from $30 for a single session in a spray tanning booth to $80 for a professional technician to air brush your body with self-tanner.
If you don't like the idea of tanning outside or with the help of a machine, you can always use self-tanning lotion. You simply apply the self-tanner just like a regular lotion to your skin daily. You have to keep in mind that since there is a pigment in the self-tanning lotion, you should always use it sparingly on your elbows and feet or pretty much any spot that is especially boney. Just like with any other type of tanning, you always want to exfoliate your skin, just remember not to scrub too hard. After you apply the self-tanning lotion you want to wait at least 20min to put on your clothes. This type of tanning is typically easier to do at night when you are getting ready for bed.
Now that you pretty much know everything there is to know about tanning you now have the knowledge to get the tan you have always wanted, no matter how you choose to get it. Tanning is not only fun, but if you are like me it makes you feel better about yourself and the way you look.