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Tanning Myths - Busted

Posted in General Health 12 Aug, 2015

As a pale-skinned goddess and sultan of sunscreen, I laugh in the face of natural tanning. To look healthy I have a bottle of spray tan in the bathroom. If the pastiness is too much to bear then it's on with the spray.

It's shocking how many people still believe various myths about tanning and sunburn. Medical professionals say too much sun is dangerous, so why aren't they listening? It's time for some myth-busting, Sherlock style.

1)A base tan will stop you burning.

No it won't. A dark tan gives you 2-4 SPF, that's pathetic and dangerous. Hands up who's heard someone say 'I'm going on the sunbeds before Lanzagrotty, so I won't burn on the beach' ? I've heard more sense in a preschool. Sunbeds smother you in radiation and a tan doesn't stop burning. That's a double whammy of cancer-taunting there. And speaking of sunbeds...

2)Sunbeds are safe these days.

No they are not. The USA has re-classified sunbeds as grade 2 medical devices, upping them from grade 1 simply because of the dangers. Just because it's not the actual sun burning your skin, it doesn't mean you won't get cancer. Sunbeds are dangerous and you'd be mad to use them, no matter what the salon owner says from their Lake Como yacht.

3)Black skin doesn't burn.

Yes it does. It takes longer than a pale person like me because black skin has more melanin, but it will and does burn. It also gets cancer.

4)Only sunburn causes cancer.

Sunburn causes skin cancer, but so does tanning. Even if you don't burn you are still damaging your skin. Compare your baby smooth white bottom skin to your neck area. See the difference? That's sun damage and potential for cancer.

5)I need vitamin D!

Yes you do, but tanning is not the way. You get plenty of vitamin D on a cloudy day; you don't need direct burning sunlight. You'll also get it from fortified cereal, eggs and yogurts.

6)Sunscreen is toxic.

Not as toxic as cancer is. There has been some press about an ingredient called oxybenzone affecting hormones. Nothing is proven as of yet, but if you are concerned, switch to a sunscreen that uses metals such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as a reflective layer.

7)Sunburn equals a good tan.

No. Sunburn is simply killed skin cells. They may turn brown like dead autumn leaves, or they may just all peel off leaving you whiter than before. So it's a no win situation. Plus radioactive sunburn is more embarrassing than a nation that can't win its own Tour, n'est-ce pas?

8)Children need sun exposure.

Everyone needs sunlight and fresh air, children included. What they don't need is over-exposure to a flaming ball of gas. Keep them covered up with t-shirts and hats. They can decide for themselves at a later date if they want to risk tanning. That's not your decision. Same with secondhand smoke... I'll get off my soapbox now.

So there are some myths for you. There is really nothing good about killing your skin cells, sorry, I mean getting a tan. Simply tan from a bottle, stay wrinkle free, and live longer. I'm just saying.

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