Before Going On Vacation
It’s the summer time and you may be planning to spend a lot of time outdoors on your summer vacation. Remember that it’s important to develop a base tan and schedule enough time to develop it gradually.
Moderate exposure to ultraviolet light helps develop a natural barrier in the skin to protect the body from future exposures to UV light; it increases your tolerance to UV. Ultraviolet light stimulates the production of melanin which then surrounds the core of cells to protect the DNA. This melanin substance absorbs and / or scatters radiation. In addition, exposure to ultraviolet light thickens the epidermis (the top skin layer), thereby limiting the amount of UV which could penetrate the lower skin layers. If this photo-protection (base tan) is not developed or a sunscreen is not used, sunburn can occur and the DNA of the skin cells may become damaged. Repeated sunburn can result in damaged cells. Therefore, it’s wise to use a broadband sunscreen while exposed over a prolonged period of time or in sun-intensive regions.
Skin damage may occur if a person overexposes the skin to UV or combines exposure indoors with too much exposure to the natural sun. One should always be mindful of the dangers of overexposure, as it may lead to chronic skin damage.
Your tan will disappear or fade over time without repeated exposure to UV light. This is because the pigmentation process occurs in the epidermis, the top skin layer. The epidermis replaces all its skin cells every 28 – 30 days. Cells in the inner portion of the top skin layer divide themselves, migrate to the surface, gradually die and slough off. Skin cells contain melanin which is darkened as a result of UV exposure. If a person stops tanning for an extended period of time, they will probably have to start at the beginning using the recommended exposure schedule for their skin type. Subsequent session times may be gradually increased, leaving at least 48 hours between each exposure. This schedule assumes, however, that no unusual reaction or sunburn occurs.
If you decide to use a spray booth or self bronzer for that “immediate” tanned look, remember that these sources do not provide a natural barrier, or photo-protection, and will leave you susceptible to obtaining a sunburn when going outside or are otherwise exposed to UV light. Moderation is the key and always use an SPF when outside for extended periods of time.
Here are a few basic tanning tips before heading outside: