Truth & Tanning The Sun - The sun is the source of the Earth's life. It provides most all of the daily energy to fuel the cycle of life that goes on around us. Without the Sun, life on this planet would no longer exist. Man evolved under the influence of the Sun. In our ancestors days, it influenced their sleep patterns and reproduction, their metabolism speeds and general health. Its abundance in summer and absence in winter determined our actions and very survival. We are the same being today that evolved under its healing rays, and we must include sun-light in any plans we have for a healthy life. The Ozone Layer - The Earth's atmosphere, especially the ozone layer, protects us from most of the shorter, more harmful wavelengths, while allowing essential longer wavelength ultraviolet, visible and infrared light to penetrate it. The ozone layer is rapidly being destroyed by pollutants. Scientists agree that this will let more of the damaging, short-wave UV light through, so we must be more careful than ever before to avoid too much exposure to natural sunlight. Ultraviolet Light - Ultraviolet (UV) light is divided into 3 bands or wavelength ranges, which are referred to as UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA - known as the “tanning ray”, is primarily responsible for darkening the pigment in our skin. UVA is less energetic than UVB, so exposure to UVA will not result in a burn, unless the skin is photo-sensitive or excessive exposure exists. UVA rays penetrate more deeply into the skin than UVB rays due to their longer wavelength. Most tanning bulbs have a high UVA output, with just a small percentage of UVB. UVB - also known as the “burning ray” is the main cause of sunburn (erythema) when we are overexposed to the sun. However UVB also initiates beneficial responses, such as stimulating the production of Vitamin D, which is necessary to help our bodies absorb calcium, and also helps to repair damaged skin cells. UVB also stimulates certain skin cells known as melanocytes to make melanin, which becomes additional protective pigmentation and increases the sun protection factor (SPF) in our skin. UVB does not penetrate very deeply into the skin. The darker or more tanned the skin, the less UVB penetrates. UVC - is the most energetic of the UV bands, and will burn skin in very small doses over short periods of time. Fortunately, it is totally blocked by the ozone layer. The skin consists of three main layers: the the epidermis, the corium, and hypodermia. The epidermis is divided into the the horny layer or corneum and the germ layer. Ultraviolet light, which is mostly UVB, stimulates the melanocytes to produce melanin, or pigment, which travels toward the corneum. It is then oxidized by UVA, which turns the pigment dark and creates a light protective system which can result in an SPF of up to 10. UVB also promotes additional cell division in the germ layer, eventually causing a thickening of the horny layer which can provide an SPF of up to 4. Full implementation of all these natural Sun protective mechanisms (pigment formation, pigment darkening and thickening of the corneum) can produce an SPF of up to 40. Physiological Effects of Light - Before the days of antibiotics, immunization, and intrusive surgery, heliotherapy, or therapeutic sun exposure was a widely used treatment for a plethora of sicknesses and conditions. More recently, studies have associated light exposure with the following health benefits: Health Benefits of Sun Exposure 1 Increased sunlight exposure has been linked to 50% reduction in occurrence of cavities in children's teeth 2 Reduced symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome 3 Reduction of serum cholesterol levels. 4 Increases in energy, strength, endurance & sex drive. 5 Light exposure effectively treats 2/3 of sleep disorders 6 Increased metabolic rate resulting in weight loss 7 Short term blood pressure reduction. 8 Lowering of resting heart rate. 9 Stress reduction due to endorphin production. 10 Vitamin D Ü The Sunshine Vitamin - Doctors agree that vitamin D is essential for good health. Vitamin D deficiency is aligned with bone disorders such as rickets in children and osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults. While most vitamins are absorbed by the body from the foods we eat, there are few natural dietary sources of vitamin D, other than cod liver oil. Dairy are commonly fortified with vitamin D, however, a United States nationwide survey showed less than 30% of the milk tested contained the stated amounts of vitamin D, and some samples contained no vitamin D at all. The most reliable source of vitamin D is moderate exposure to sunlight, several times per week, since vitamin D has a life span of only about one week. Use of a sunscreen with a SPF 8 or more can prevent any significant production of vitamin D. Vitamin D Production - Osteoporosis Prevention Tanning beds that emit UVB and sunlight are trustworthy sources of vitamin D, which is needed for our bodies to benefit from the calcium we get in our diet. People in northern climates experience seasonal bone loss in winter due to the fact that they can't get enough sunlight to produce vitamin D. Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder - Sunlight and simulated sunlight doses are a successful treatment for S.A.D., a condition that causes winter depression and is especially prevalent in northern areas. By contrast, normal indoor lighting isperceived by the brain as near darkness. Prevention of Some Cancers - People who live in areas that get more sunlight have been found to have a lower death rate from colon, ovarian, and breast cancer than those living in regions with less sunlight. Some studies have shown that malignant melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, is shown to be inhibited by vitamin D and regular sun exposure. A prominent doctor has estimated that up to 30,000 US cancer deaths could be avoided each year by moderate sunbathing. Psoriasis Treatment - UV light is usually prescribed by doctors to alleviate the appearance and discomfort of psoriasis. People with psoriasis should consult a doctor before proceeding with any treatment program. Tanning Beds and Lamps - Modern tanning beds usually produce UV light output, which is very similar to the sun. That is, the UV emissions consist of a high volume of UVA, a small percentage of UVB and no UVC at all, equal to a normal day in the summer. However, a 20 minute session in a tanning bed can be equivalent to several hours of outdoor exposure. When beginning your tanning program, start with short exposure times, increasing gradually according to the manufacturer's directions and advise from the professionals at your tanning salon. Eye Care & Tanning -Never get in a tanning bed without eye protection. The eyelids offer almost no protection against UV rays, which damage the cornea and retina. Not using eye protection may also result in short term effects such as headaches, itchy eyes, loss of night vision or difficulty in seeing colors. Buy your own pair of tanning goggles to avoid risk of infections like pink eye. It's best to not take chances with your eyes. Tanning Lotions & SPFs - Your tanning salon offers high quality tanning products and lotions to help you develop a protective and attractive tan, while providing the best skin care possible. However, the variety of products can be confusing to new tanners. Here is a brief summary of the different types of tanning lotions and gels available and what they do. Remember that lotions are for normal or dry skin, while gels are for oily skin. Moisturizers Skin -becomes dry and tough from light, wind, bathing and other factors. Dry, flaking skin reflects light, reducing the tanning effect. A moisturizer will soothe dry skin and make it soft and supple. Moist, clean skin tans the best. All tanning lotions contain moisturizers and many have ingredients to neutralize free oxygen radicals which are a factor in the aging process. Use after bathing or anytime skin is dry. Accelerators and Maximizers - These products are intended to increase or speed up your skin's natural ability to tan, and are used when you are trying to establish a good tan base. They generally contain a form of tyrosine, a naturally occurring amino acid (sometimes contained in a complex which may be called Unipertan or Vitatan) and other elements that skin cells need to produce and oxidize additional pigment. Use immediately before tanning and continue use until a base tan is established for optimum results use a moisturizer during your tanning program. “Tingling” Accelerators - Certain accelerators are intended to increase your skin's ability to tan by stimulating additional blood flow to the skinÍs surface, providing increased oxygenation and availability of essential tanning elements. Oxygen is important since pigment darkening is primarily an oxidization process. Use immediately before tanning. Amplifiers - Amplifiers contain various oils that make your skin more translucent, allowing more light to penetrate, thereby increasing UV lightÍs tanning effect. Use immediately before tanning. Intensifiers Tanning increases the thickness or callosity of the outer layer of your skin, blocking out UV light and reducing its tanning effect. This has also been called the “Tanning Plateau”, Intensifiers -thin out this layer, allowing more UV light to penetrate to produce more melanin and further darken existing pigment. Use when accelerators and maximizers are not getting you any darker. Shower Gels, Body Washes - Many soaps strip away your skin's acid mantle, resulting in moisture loss and poor tan development or early tan loss. The specially formulated shower gels and related products at your tanning center cleanse gently while maintaining delicate moisture balance. Use daily instead of soap. Self Tanning Gels and Lotions - These products usually use dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a natural derivative of sugar cane to oxidize the outer dead layer of your skin, turning it a golden brown. It will not wash off, but fades gradually with your skin's renewal process. Use to enhance hard to tan areas to achieve maximum darkness. Sun Protection Factors (SPF) - In your tanning center your exposure to UV light is carefully controlled to avoid burning, but when you spend time outdoors you are in an uncontrolled UV environment, so use a sunscreen that is right for your skin type and degree of base tan. An SPF 2 allows you to stay in the sun without burning twice as long as you could without a sunscreen; an SPF 8 for eight times as long and so on. Use the quality SPF's sold by your tanning center which give full spectrum protection (UVB plus UVA), provide essential moisturizing ingredients, and contain many of the ingredients used in accelerators to enhance your skin's ability to tan. Reapply sunscreens often to maintain protection levels. Sunburn Erythema - or sunburn, occurs from over-exposure to UVB light. Depending on the severity of the burn, skin can become red, swollen and itchy. Skin cells are damaged in the germ layer and blood vessels dilate increasing blood flow to the damaged area. Normally, the damaged skin cells repair themselves or die and eventually flake off to be replaced by new skin cells. Repeatedly exposing already sunburned skin or a personal history of multiple severe sunburns has in some cases been linked to an overload of the skin's natural repair mechanism, which could result in the formation of basal or squamous cell skin cancer. If you have a sunburn, avoid any further UV exposure. To alleviate the discomfort of a burn, take aspirin to reduce the inflammation and a bath with baking soda or vinegar might help. Some products for after sun are available at your tanning salon which contain ingredients such as calendula and evening primrose oil which can minimize the effects of a burn. Do not use oil based lotions which tend to trap in the heat. For a serious burn, consult your physician. Since your skin reacts to light for 24 hours or more after exposure, the full effects of your exposure may not be immediately obvious, NEVER TAN TWICE IN A 24 HOUR PERIOD. Phototoxicity and Photosensitivity - Certain medications, cosmetics, and perfumes may cause your skin to be more sensitive to light, and sunburn may result from very little UV exposure. If you are on any medication, consult your pharmacist or physician prior to tanning. Remove make-up before each tanning session, since clean, moist skin tans best. Pregnancy increases photosensitivity as well as sensitivity to heat. Pregnant women should consult a physician before tanning. Skin Cancer - Unfortunately, there has been no completely comprehensive study on the cause of skin cancer, however three risk factors have been identified. These are people with a family history of skin cancer, those with very fair skin, freckles or moles and people who have had several sunburns at a young age. If you fall into one of these categories, any UV exposure should be treated with caution. Basal and squamous cell of carcinoma are the two most common forms of skin cancer and can usually be treated with minor surgery. These types of cancer are seldom fatal, as less than 1/1000th of one percent of the population will die from them. They can however be very serious if not treated early. Malignant melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer and results from the uncontrolled growth of melanocytes. As mentioned above, studies have shown that this form of cancer may be inhibited by vitamin D and exposure to sunlight. In research done at the University of Sydney's Melanoma Clinic, the incidence of malignant melanoma was found to be much higher in office workers than in those regularly exposed to sunshine due to lifestyle or occupation. Successful treatment of any kind of skin cancer depends on early diagnosis. If you have any moles or marks that change size or shape quickly, or any sores that don't heal, see a dermatologist immediately. What Dermatologists Say - Dermatologists are skin professionals who are genuinely concerned for our health. Why do they say “No tan is a safe tan”, when other health professionals tell us sunlight can be good for us? How can they say this when they themselves prescribe UV light as part of the treatment for many skin disorders? Remember that dermatologists see skin damage every day, some of which may be attributable to excessive UV exposure, and they believe that skin cancer is becoming much more prevalent than in the past. They want to help people avoid damaged skin, and have decided to recommend against all UV exposure to try to accomplish this. In light of the studies which show many positive effects of UV light, this seems to be a narrow-minded approach. One of the studies which dermatologists say supports their position is known as the Swedish Study, which they say shows that use of tanning beds increased the incidence of malignant melanoma. However, the study itself made no such claim, and had the following flaws: 1 1) It was conducted as a mail-in questionnaire, and the dermatologists' claim was based on a sub-group of only eleven respondents, a method that is highly questionable and a size of test group that is considered statistically insignificant. 2 2) It did not take into account the sunscreen use or outdoor exposure histories of the respondents, both factors which would influence any results. 3 3) As with most special interest groups, dermatologists quote research which supports their position and are less interested in research that contradicts it. The American Academy of Dermatologist recently proposed a ban of indoor tanning salons to the 4) US Food and Drug Administration, but failed to make a convincing case and were not supported by scientists consulted by the FDA. The proposal was dismissed. While their motives are good, dermatologists are only looking at one aspect of UV light, and discount the many health benefits from sun exposure detailed above. We should consider all aspects of UV exposure in deciding on our own sun habits. We at Tanners Cove strive to bring you the ultimate tanning experience through helping you make informed decisions about your skin, and your life. Thanks Again!