Safe or Unsafe ? - The truth about tanning

4년 전


Look! Someone’s about to get grilled.(License: CC0, No attribution required]:Pexels

It's almost summer and we just want everything to be right about our bodies. People going to the gym, trying to get that summer body, get bikinis, shorts, hats, lotion, sunglasses etc, all ready for the summer.

Summer is here, and we are all out, on our way to the beach or water sides (to obviously lay under the sun) in a quest to complete our final summer body goal - A tanned skin. Well, a tanned skin tone looks great but do you know what happens to your skin in this quest? It destroys your skin in all ways you could think of.

Did I hear someone think out loud? -”I don't go to the beach or lay under the sun by watersides during summer, under the sun to get a tan, I get an indoor tan or use a tanning bed. My skin is safe”. No Felicia! Your precious skin is far from safe!

Safe tanning is not a thing, tanning no matter how you do it and where you do it would still eventually destroy your skin. In destroying your skin I mean, it causes untimely ageing of the skin, wrinkles, spots, infections (from tan beds) and It could be as worse as resulting in a very dangerous type of skin cancer [ (melanoma)- Don't worry, you'll understand this phenomenon in subsequent paragraphs of this article ].

When I said subsequent paragraphs, I actually meant the next paragraph which happens to be this paragraph... I'm digressing..... where were we?
Yeah! Let's help you understand the worst illness (Melanoma) you can get from skin tanning and how it arises.


(License: Public domain. Unknown author. CC BY-SA 3.0.]: Wikipedia Commons

Melanoma may pass as a cute name you’d want to give to your female child, or an Instagram account handle for them ”melanin queens” :) but this name was rather given to one of the rarest but most dangerous skin cancer in the world.

How does it arise?

When you grill meat or chicken, what makes you know that it ’s ready for consumption to an extent?
Yeah, you got it right - The colour!
It changes from whitish pink or white to brown in colour showing that the cells are totally dead. This is the same thing that happens to our skin, especially pale skin during tanning.

When we go under the sun and stay for a long period of time, the colour of our skin (especially in pale skin) begins to darken-(tanning effect); this change in the colour of the skin is as a result of the ultraviolet radiation emitted from the sun on the skin of an individual, causing death of the skin cells.

This situation also occurs when you use tanning equipment and tanning beds. As a matter of fact, it’s actually worse off when you use tanning equipment or bed than when you use the sun because the ultraviolet radiation emitted from the bulbs used in tanning equipment is 10-15 times higher than the ultraviolet radiation the sun produces.

The rope on the left has been overexposed to ultraviolet radiation and the one on the right is a new one not exposed to ultraviolet radiation (License:Public domain.CC BY-SA 3.0.]: Wikipedia Commons

Just like the image on the left, you can see the clear difference between the rope exposed to ultraviolet radiation and the one that wasn’t exposed. This is the same thing that happens to our skin when it’s overexposed to ultraviolet radiation. This basically causes direct damage to the skin DNA called cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs). At this point, the skin pigmentation cells called the melanocytes to mutate and become cancerous appearing as moles; the first stage of melanoma.

The ability for this cancer to spread very fast is the reason why it is considered the most dangerous skin cancer and skin cancer with the most deaths. There are 5 different stages of melanoma; the first stage where there are just appearances of moles, the second stage these moles thicken and may not spread or become ulcerous.

In the third stage, the thickness and spread of lymph nodes increases but it also may not be ulcerous, almost the same thing occurs in stage four while the final stage the thickness doesn’t have to be of any size and may not necessarily be ulcerated but it definitely has been spread to different sense organs. In affiliation with the spread of this cancer, the lower the stage, the lower the spread. It’s quite easier to cure at the early stage, unlike the later stages that might even require chemotherapy.

That’s all about the melanoma, for now, I guess.....Oh, wait!
I am not that mean, I’ll have to tell you how to prevent this skin cancer before I finally proceed to other dangers attached to skin tanning. Well, I’ll start with the obvious one ;

  • stop skin tanning
  • Use sunscreen when you’re out under the very hot sun
  • Avoid staying under the sun for too long
  • Again, stop skin tanning, your pale coloured skin looks just great and doesn’t deserve roasting!

Read carefully, you’d find the symptoms of melanoma encoded in this article somewhere. Regardless, you should visit your dermatologist when you find irregular moles appearing on your skin, they are of different colours (I call them the death threat tattoos); whispering......., you’d have to watch out for the blue moles :).

Wheeew!, finally done with melanoma. Now, let’s discover other really bad things that can happen to you when you keep getting your skin tanned.

Well, when you’re getting your skin tanned as a young lady or gentleman below age 35, get ready to look old. No, you didn’t read it wrong, you’d literally look old. It’s unbelievable but tanning causes your skin to wrinkle and you may require a plastic surgeon to fix the mess you caused.

Oops, I forgot to explain the wrinkling process that occurs when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation during tanning. For your skin to get a proper tan, you might have excessively exposed your skin to ultraviolet radiation. This ultraviolet radiation breaks down collagen in the skin which helps in the elasticity and strength of the skin, thereby causing wrinkles and sometimes brown-black spots.

You love tanning so much (This is dangerous love), that without it, your summer body wouldn’t seem to be a complete package.

News Flash - Your immune system is rather disgusted.!

It’s sunburn and sure doesn’t look good at all! Say no to skin tanning (Public domain. Brentwater, CC BY-SA 1.0]: Wikipedia Commons

Well, let’s see why Mr immune system gets so mad when you get your skin tanned; during tanning, the DNA cells in the skin are destroyed due to the exposure to ultraviolet radiation as we all know. When the immune cells are destroyed or damaged too in this process of cell destruction, the immune function of cells in that area of the skin is also destroyed which basically suppresses the immune system of the individual.

Also, Mr immune system has a soft spot for every part of an individual’s body and the skin is not an exception; when you get sunburn from tanning or overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, the immune system tries to pump blood to that area (the reason why the area feels warmer and looks really red), to help rectify the problem.

This doesn’t just end here because the skin cells you destroyed as a result of tanning, or overexposure to ultraviolet radiation would want to take vengeance on the individual. How does it do this? - it secretes chemicals and transfers it to the brain (you know, a secret message to Mr brain in a bid to take vengeance on its temporary enemy- you !) which translates it as pain, making you feel pain in the real sense.

Hey there again, tanning addicts! You could get blind in the process.
By getting blind, I don’t mean you’d literally lose your vision immediately, I mean they’d be an interference (although for a short while) in your vision. Your eyes are not a big fan of tanning just like other parts of your had rather started making your body healthy and happy again.

Your eyes too, are not happy for the obvious reasons

Not only your skin is affected by sunburn during tanning, but your cornea is also affected too. Cataract (this occurs when the natural lens of an individual’s eyes is clouded ) may develop if you continue exposing your eyes to ultraviolet radiation in this condition, you’re likely to go blind.

Final thoughts

In a nutshell, there is nothing good about skin tanning, well excluding the satisfaction you get from your new skin tone. There are other damages that tanning can do to your health, I managed to point out the very important ones.

The others not so important ones include suntan, sunburn, spots on the skin, uneven skin tone etc. If you just got your skin tanned as you read this, you should watch out for the side effects and visit a dermatologist immediately because you are at risk of developing melanoma.

Melanoma doesn’t arise only as a result of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, some people inherit melanoma. If you fall into these groups you too should see your doctor when you notice any strange mole on your skin.


Effects of tanning on our health

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  ·  4년 전


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