What is the tanning process?
The tanning process is the skins natural reaction to ultraviolet exposure that occurs in both long and short term events. Short term tanning, called immediate tanning, is a little known and understood process. Long term tanning, called delayed tanning, is commonly known as melanogenisis. This long term tanning process is what will be discussed here. Human skin can be classified into six types, determined by pigmentation response. Skin Type I cannot achieve a tan, even with repeated exposures. Skin Types II & III can tan, but will only generate a light brown color. Skin Types IV & V tan easily and profusely with normal exposure. Skin Type VI is extremely pigmented, even without ultraviolet exposure. The delayed tanning process is believed to take up to 48 hours to complete, and begins when ultraviolet light reaches the skin.
Delayed tanning, or melanogenisis, is the process that includes the production and distribution of the pigment melanin. Pigment development begins in the melanocyte, a specialized cell in the innermost surface of the epidermis. In response to ultraviolet radiation, the melanocytes produce melanin in little "packets" called melanosomes, which travel to the skin (keratinocytes) cells. Inside the skin cells, the melanosomes disintegrates and eventually exfoliates with the skin cell as it reaches the outer layer of the skin. The term melanin is actually a descriptive term that describes a group of similar compounds. People with Skin Type I actually create a substance called "pheomelanin", a pigment that has little color and is ineffective in protecting the skin. Skin Type II & III, which can produce a light brown tan, create "eumelanin", the pigment known to be effective against damage from further ultraviolet exposure.
If a person can't tan in the sun, will he/she tan successfully indoors?
Normally, a person will tan indoors only as well as he/she is able to tan outdoors. Yet fair-skinned people who generally cannot tolerate the uncontrollable rays of the sun can often achieve some color when tanning indoors. This can be attributed to the different spectral output generated by tanning equipment as well as the carefully timed sessions an indoor tanner receives in a controlled tanning environment. Skin type, heredity and individual photo-sensitivity determine the level of success a person will have tanning indoors.
Does a tan protect you?
Tanning is your body's natural protection against sunburn.
The sunburn probably means that skin cells have been injured or are in some way insulted by the exposure to ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation," says Boston University research dermatologist DR. Michael Holick. "The tanning process, however, is a natural process by which the skin cells recognize the potential damaging effects of exposure to UVA and UVB radiation, and they respond by increasing the production of melanin."
The avergae salon believes that tanning indoors - for people who can develop a tan - coupled the intelligent use of sunscreen lotion outdoors is the best way to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of sun exposure. Melanoma skin cancer is more common in people who work indoors than in those who work outdoors.
Why should I use indoor tanning lotions when I tan?
Indoor tanning lotions work differently than outdoor lotions. Indoor lotions are scientifically bioengineered and designed to maximize your tanning performance while moisturizing your skin. Today's tanning lotions deliver nutrients to your skin that skin cells need to induce the tanning process. It's literally like feeding your tan. Also, these special ingredients, only found in indoor lotions, can help you attain a darker tan in fewer tanning visits - saving you money while taking care of your skin. You maximize your tan, your time and your money when you use indoor tanning lotions. Going without doesn't make sense.
Do I need to wear eye protection?
Sunglasses, towels, cotton balls, contact lens, simply closing your eyes - none of these is adequate protection for your eyes while tanning. Burns to the eye are the most common type of injury sustained among indoor tanners. Every one of these injuries can be avoided by wearing federally approved protective eyewear federally approved protective eyewear designed for indoor tanning
Eyelids are not made of UV blocking material. The result is that UV may pass through, damaging the cornea, retina and lens. The cumulative effects can cause cataracts, night blindness and color blindness. U.S. federal law requires that protective eyewear meeting specific standards be supplied to each tanner.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifies that protective eyewear must block 99.9 % of UVB light and 99 % of UVA light while allowing visible light rays to pass through lenses so the customer can see while they tan.
Research shows that overexposure to both UVA and UVB can cause eye damage. Some brands of contact lenses that claim to block UV light have created confusion in North American tanning salons by giving customers the impression that they no longer need to use proper eye protection if they wear their contacts. The lenses only block 95 percent of UVB light, which is well short of federal standards for protective eyewear. Contact lens wearers need to remember that the body loses moisture during tanning. This can cause contact lens to "stick" to the eye. It is recommended that wearers remove their contacts before tanning. If this isn't possible, moisturizing drops should be used before and after the tanning session. While not adequate protection for indoor tanning, sunglasses are recommended for outdoor usage any time of year when conditions warrant. "Snow blindness" caused by sunlight reflecting off of snow is an example of immediate injury. Whatever the mandated regulations are in your area, it is in a tanner's own personal interest to wear federally approved eyewear either provided by the salon or available for purchase.
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