For most of the world, we look forward to when the weather starts to warm up so that we can get outside to enjoy the warmth and good feelings of the sun. Some people can’t wait that long and decide to do tanning booths, not only to darken their skin, which they believe makes them look healthier, but to prepare their bodies for the sun that they’ll be getting a lot more of in good weather.
Although our bodies need Vitamin D, which comes from the sun, the truth is that most people have a great misunderstanding of what they need to do to protect themselves in their goal of getting tanned, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Here are some myths that we’d like to get out of the way for you.
1. Tanning early prevents the body from being sunburned as easily. The ultraviolet light one gets from a tanning session is nothing compared to the ultraviolet rays that come from the sun. The suns ultraviolet rays can provide people with Vitamin D; they also reach the body unfiltered. The body’s ability to withstand the effects of the sun better have more to do with the amount of melanin in the body, not how brown one is via artificial methods. As a matter of fact, people who tan will end up with sunburn more often early in the season than anyone else because they believe they’ve protected their body, and hence won’t take the kinds of precautions that other people are taking.
2. If it’s not hot outside, one can’t get sunburned. If a person could withstand the cold temperatures, that person could get a sunburn if the temperatures were below freezing. What most people forget is that the sun is actually around 3 million miles closer to the earth during winter (in the southern hemisphere, you might call this your “summer”), and in the southern hemispheres, they’re sometimes known to have higher temperatures than the northern hemisphere will have during summer. It’s never about the temperature where you are; it’s about the sun and the ultraviolet rays. If you need proof, ask yourself why your car gets to warm inside, even in winter, if you leave it outside for an hour or so.
3. Having brown skin means I look healthier. Once again, this is an issue of perception more than reality. It depends on whether you attain that color naturally or not. Some people just don’t look good with skin browner than their cultural heritage naturally allows. It can be unhealthy in more ways than one. It can dry your skin. It can cause skin cancers. Something else many people don’t think about is what the suns rays can do to your eyes if you’re not wearing glasses with UV protection while you’re tanning. Too much sun or UV rays can also age your skin, making it wrinkle, or tough looking.
4. Sunscreen will totally protect me so I can stay out in the sun as long as I want to. Sunscreens come in different strengths, and of course the stronger the lotion, the more general protection it can offer you. However, there are some sunscreens that, with very intense sunlight, will actually start working against the body and skin more than on someone not wearing anything at all. Therefore, it’s very important to not subject your body to too much sun, even with sunscreen.
These are only a few myths that we’ve addressed. When it comes to the sun and tanning, always make sure to protect your body as much as you possibly can, and don’t stay in either one too long.