Sun tanning is enjoyed by many and the look of sun-tanned skin. There is little doubt that skin that is nicely tanned looks healthy and more attractive. However, there are several negative aspects such as wrinkles that can occur to skin as a result of overexposure to the sun and tanning beds. Visit the wrinkle cream page for information on dealing with wrinkles commonly caused by sun exposure.
If using tanning beds, you should be aware of the tanning bed safety rules.
One of the most obvious problems that can occur with tanning is skin cancer and one should know the skin cancer warning signs orfive signs of skin cancer. Another negative aspect of sun tanning is premature skin aging. Premature aging and other changes caused by the sun are characterized by the appearance of freckles, age spots, spider veins on the face, rough and leathery skin, fine wrinkles that disappear when stretched, loose skin, a blotchy complexion, and actinic keratosis (thick wart-like, rough, reddish patches of skin).
Skin cancer is a more serious skin condition that can occur with tanning or too much sun exposure. Most individuals are not as careful as they should be because skin cancer does not develop overnight. It is not an immediate effect of sun tanning, but rather one that is delayed and may appear several years later. At that point, it is too late! For younger individuals sun exposure is even more problematic. Young children with xeroderma pigmentosum can develop skin cancer at an early age.
In order to prevent premature skin aging and the more serious skin problem of skin cancer, it is a good idea to follow a few skin care rules when it comes to suntanning and sun exposure as outlined below. There is also the alternative of sunless tanning for those who want to avoid the sun altogether for tanning, but still desire to have a darker skin tone.
Many people are tempted to intentionally burn themselves right away when sun tanning, believing this provides a good base for a tan. Sunburns are a sign of skin damage and can lead to serious skin complications. A sunburn destroys cells on the skin's outer layer. In most cases, these burns are minor, causing red, tender, sometimes blistered skin that sheds after several days. However, the more often a sunburn occurs the greater the risk of developing skin cancer.
Use a Sun Block or Sun Screen
When out in the sun you should wear sun block. A suntan (the production of melanin in the skin) is essentially your body's way of protecting itself from the harmful effects of the sun. The more you can slow down this process, the less your skin will receive long-term damage from sun tanning. Use a block with a SPF or Sun Protection Factor of at least 15, but preferably greater. The block or sunscreen used should block UVA and UVB rays.
Apply Sun Protection Lotion at the Right Time
The sunscreen or sun block should be applied to your body before being exposed to the sun. Applying sun block before going out makes it more likely that the entire skin on the body that needs to be protected will be properly protected. Otherwise, individuals tend to quickly apply the lotion and not protect their skin properly. Put the lotion on about 20 to 30 minutes before going outside so that the skin can absorb it properly. After swimming and toweling off or excessive sweating, reapply the sunscreen.
Choose the Right Type of Sun Screen or Sun Block
If you do play a lot of sports or if you work outdoors and sweat a great deal, be sure to wear a sun block that is specially formulated for such activities. Waterproof sun blocks are a little more resistant to water and are thus ideal for those who are active during the day outdoors.
The sun is at its hottest between noon and 3:00. However, for maximum protection, avoid being in the sun or sun tanning between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, if possible. The added intensity of the sun during peak hours increases the likelihood of becoming sunburned and, consequently, experiencing skin damage. During this time of the day, it is best to stay in a shaded area.
Limit the Amount of Time in the Water
Spending time in the water increases your chances of getting sunburned. The sun's rays reflect from the water and are basically magnified onto your body. Getting a sunburn while in the water can happen with little to no warning signs. Where a sun block every time you are in water. Make sure the sun block is water resistant and reapply it as often as the product recommends. This is normally at least every 2-3 hours.
Wear Protective Clothing
Wear a hat, keep your shirt on, wear a light long-sleeved shirt, and wear light pants to provide an extra layer of sun protection for your skin. This is particularly important if you will be spending a great deal of time outdoors, such as playing sports or gardening.
Know Your Skin Type
Individuals with fair skin need to be especially cautious when sun tanning and exposing their skin to the sun for long periods of time. This also applies to people who burn easily or who have a history of sun tanning poorly. People with freckles or a great number of moles should also take extra precautions when spending time in the sun. People that fall in any of these categories are at a greater risk of developing skin cancer. Similarly, children under the age of 16 and individuals with a family history of skin cancer should avoid sun tanning or exposing their skin to excessive amounts of sun.
What if you have Sensitive Skin?
Individuals with sensitive skin need to purchase a sun block that will not irritate the skin. There are hypoallergenic sun block products available. If you are not sure where to look or what you need for your skin, ask the pharmacist and he/she should be able to recommend one or two products to experiment with.
Don't Forget Your Lips
Your lips have skin on them and therefore also need to be protected from the sun. Lips can become easily burned or dried out, which is both unhealthy for your skin and unattractive. Use a SPF lip moisturizing balm often when tanning or out in the sun.
Also, remember to protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around the eyes with a quality pair of sunglasses when tanning or being out in the sun.
Visit the sun poisoning rash page for more information on how the sun can affect the skin.
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Five Common Skin Problems, Answered!
Habits to Break and Habits to Maintain for Dazzling Skin.
More sun related and tanning resources: