Sun Tanning: The Benefits and Drawbacks

Sun tanning has been a part of American culture since bikinis came into fashion in the early 50s. However, because of a recent revival in the craze and studies that suggest that tanning could put your life at risk, beach goers are nervous and unsure about what to believe. Here are the red, hot, facts.

Benefits of Sun Tanning:

Your body turns sunlight into Vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps in the development of strong bones and supports a strong immune system. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to more of a susceptibility for catching colds and having infections. Vitamin D has also been shown to curb depression. People in places that don't receive much sunshine throughout the year, or in the winter months, are encouraged to use tanning beds to help replenish their body's supply.

Vitamin D has also recently been shown to ward off Alzheimer's Disease and to help prevent certain cancers. Shockingly, countries with lots of sunshine have lower numbers of breast, prostate and colon cancer.

Although overdosing on Vitamin D when it is in caplet form is a real risk, no one can overdose on the substance via sunlight. Hence, sunlight is the better method of absorbing the vitamin for children and the elderly.

Drawbacks of Sun Tanning:

Too much exposure
Sun tanning becomes unhealthy and life threatening when it is over indulged in. Like anything else, too much sunlight, which includes UVA, UVB and UVC light, can cause premature aging and even, skin cancer.

UVA light is linked to premature aging, wrinkles, age spots, and patchy skin that doesn't retain elasticity.
UVB light is dangerous because it causes burning. When burning occurs, your skin cells become damaged and more likely to turn cancerous.
UVC light is thankfully absorbed by the ozone and pollution layers and does not usually reach us.

Not to mention that walking around with a burn is not much fun. OUCH! Keep in mind that UVA rays can be bouncing around your skin on even the cloudiest days. They are the reason you can still get tanned on windy or overcast beach outings.

Protection
Make sure to buy sunscreens that have both UVA and UVB protection and wear them everyday, no matter what the weather conditions look like. Large hats and sunglasses are not only all the rage in the current fashion scene, but are also important when you're frolicking in the sun.

When it comes to your skin and your health, it is very important to be aware and active in it's protection. Everybody is different and what seems just right for one person may prove too much for another. Because of the severity of the risks involved, many people have give up sun tanning for indoor tanning, which is often less dangerous while effective.

Tanning Bed

So you've been staring into the cloudy, dry winter sky and asking the heavens when the sun will shine. Maybe you're staring at your pale legs and dreading warmer weather.
» Tanning Bed

Suntan Lotion

Everyone knows by now that the sun can cause irreversible skin damage and that could put your life at risk. This alone is enough reason to make suntan lotion your best friend.
» Suntan Lotion

Tanning Salons

Tanning salons are in almost every city and on almost every corner today, partly and surprisingly thanks to the fashion visionary Coco Chanel. Ever since she was seen leaving a nobleman's yacht with a deep tan in 1923, tanning has been 'in vogue.
» Tanning Salons

Self Tanning

Although self tanning is promoted to be safe and effective, some self tanning products available out there can actually be extremely dangerous to your health and well being. Avoid the following dangerous self tanners.
» Self Tanning

› Things to Think About

It may sound silly, but in the cruel, gorilla warfare that is 'dating,' chances are that you're still single because you're not standing out from the crowd like you should be. A good way to make yourself shine is with a suntan.