Do you want to eliminate the pale color of your skin in favor of a wild tan? Join the group. Especially as summer approaches, people begin to consider the best way to get the glow that comes from a tan in the sun — choosing self-tanning lotions, tanning booths, a few moments in the sun, or a combination of all of these.
For many people, summer means spending time in the pool or on the beach, soaking up the rays and basking in the sun for the perfect golden tan. In fact, most Americans, including 80 percent of people under the age of 25, think they look better tanned.
But before you grab your bathing suit and head to the pool – or a tanning booth – spend a few minutes looking at some facts about your skin and sun exposure. These data can help you get the image you want without harming your skin.
How Tanning Happens
The sun’s rays are divided into two types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB. UVB radiation burns the top layer of the skin (the epidermis), causing sunburn.
UVA radiation is what causes people to tan. UVA rays penetrate the lower layers of the skin, where they stimulate cells called melanocytes to produce melanin . Melanin is the brown pigmentation that causes tanning and is the body’s way of protecting the skin from burns. People with a dark complexion tan more intensely than people with lighter skin since their melanocytes produce more melanin. But just because a person does not get sunburned, this does not mean that he or she is protected from skin cancer and other problems.