It’s summer again, and do you know what that means? It’s time to get your tan on! Sometimes this is a hard thing to do, considering the many myths that surround the idea of tanning.
Here, I will go through a few of the common tanning myths and hopefully put these tanning myths to rest while you’re catching that beautiful summer bronze.
Myth #1: If you don’t use sunscreen, you’ll get cancer.
Wrong. In science, there is a common phrase used that can perfectly describe this false scenario: Correlation does not imply causation. Let me clarify: Any sun exposure, whether you use sunscreen or not, can increase your chances of getting skin cancer, but does it mean that you will end up with skin cancer? NO! However, if you don’t use sunscreen, you might get a sunburn, but even this is not certain. It all depends on the individual person.
Myth #2: Spray tans will turn you orange.
Wrong. Can spray tans turn you orange? Yes, they can, but who goes to a tanning salon to turn orange? Nobody. People go to tan to a nice bronze color, so if you end up orange, it’s either due to a botched tan job, inferior product used on your skin, or something that you did wrong/didn’t do prior to the tan to prep yourself.
Myth #3: Tanning beds are safer than sun tanning.
Wrong. No method of tanning is really safe, and experts will agree with this. Whether you are in the sun or tanning indoor in a bed, you are still being exposed to harmful UV rays which can cause skin problems, including cancer. Some may recommend to stick with spray tans, but others will argue that the DHA, the tanning agent in products, can cause other health problems.
Myth #4: Tanning lotions provide adequate protection from the sun.
Wrong. Most tanning lotions offer little, if any, protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Your skin tanning is its defense mechanism to protect it from UV damage, so any sort of color change indicates that you were not fully protected.
Myth #5: Base tans will help protect you from getting a sunburn.
Wrong. Tan or sunburn, it’s all considered skin damage, and although it may seem like a good idea to get a base tan before that tropical vacation, you are still doing damage to your skin. Will you look hot out there? Sure! Will it help prevent a sunburn? Not necessarily. The only way to really prevent a sunburn is to apply the appropriate sunscreen protection every couple of hours, depending on the SPF.
Myth #6: I can get a tan on a shady day without needing to worry about skin protection.
Wrong. Although it is true that you can tan, and even burn, on a shady or cloudy day, it is equally true that you should still be protected when in the great outdoors no matter what the sky looks like. There is a phenomenon called the “broken cloud effect” where the sky can be full of clouds with some breaks, but the UV levels are higher as a result. There was a study conducted in Australia by researchers in 2004 which measured ground UV levels to be up to 40% higher on cloudy days as opposed to a completely sunny day.
Now that you know the truth about these tanning myths, I hope I didn’t scare you from tanning! You only live once, and it’s best to live your life with the ability to make informed decisions about your health. Bronze that booty!