Your Base Tan Is Dangerous!

Does your base tan work or just get you burnt!

Flickr – Kelly Sue DeConnick

As summer hits and people get ready to soak in the sunshine, there’s always the concern about how to prevent sunburn.

While there are great debates over sunscreen, whether it is healthy, or whether the sunscreen causes cancer itself.

There’s no denying you have to do something to protect yourself if you intend to spend time on the beach!

The most touted answer we’ve all heard, and probably tried…  the “base tan”.

Does a Base Tan Work?

To find out researchers needed a base line to work with on a number of participants they used 16 young healthy adults…

And they studied butt cheeks!

Taking their rear ends from pasty white to to golden brown with two weeks of tanning sessions with either UVA or UVB rays.

The folks who managed to tan easily were able to build up a protection equivalent to SPF 2.

Other studies with darker and olive skinned folk ran similar conclusions and were able to reach SPF 3… or less.

But Tanning Beds!

Tanning beds come in different varieties and one of the more popular is the UVA emitting light.

The reason for UVA tanning bed popularity is the long wavelengths are less likely to cause sunburn and create a more immediate skin darkening.

They also are far more damaging to the skin and are correlated with incredibly high cancer rates.

The SPF protection you might gain from tanning in a UVA tanning bed?   A very meager 1.5… at the cost of your health.

UVB rays are a bit better as they trigger longer term protective mechanisms  and the production of more melanin, but still aren’t going to provide anything more than a base tan with a couple SPF of so called protection.

Tanning Behavior

The worst part of building up a base tan, is it fools you into thinking you are safe.

You aren’t.

Whether you are pasty white or a golden bronze, it’s critical to practice safe sun practices and limit your unprotected time in the sun.

If you spend 15 minutes roasting in the sun, it’s probably time to cool off in the shade for a bit.


Limited Safety of Sunscreen

One alternative so you can spend an uncomfortable amount of time in the heat is sun screen.

The debate over sunscreen among health guru’s is always prevalent.

The reason… sunscreen blocks your ability to absorb sunlight and naturally produce Vitamin D. Beyond that some sunscreens are accused of containing carcinogenic ingredients, some that even start off safe and become carcinogenic when exposed to the sun!.

So it’s worth investigating a healthy sunscreen of at least SPF 30.

Yes, at least an SPF 30… remember when a base tan offered maybe 2 SPF?

Basically base tans are useless, other than playing a dangerous psychological trick.

Let your body do the talking, if you are out in the sun and getting uncomfortably warm, or feeling your skin tingle, seek some shade!