Wednesday, March 13, 2013

BREAKING NEWS - Tanning is bad

I may or may not have been a tad dramatic in the title just so you would read this blog post.

I wanted to put this post together for a few reasons. One reason is because when I think about much emphasis we place on looks in our society I know that this issue is arises. I also have spent some time reflecting upon the things I care for about my body and the ways I want to help people in the future. I sometimes neglect areas in my life that I shouldn’t (I’m working on it okay), consistent exercise programs, nutrition, recycling, the list goes on and on.  One thing I remain caring for regardless of how busy I am is my skin and face. I may not spend hours getting ready everyday, (on average it’s like ten minutes) but that’s plenty of time for me to wash the face, moisturize, and apply retinol cream and sunscreen. *I also may or may not have had to put this together for a class.

Friends, you’ve heard this before, but please keep reading and listen one more time because I truly feel passionate about this subject and I care about you as well.

Please. Save your Skin. It's the largest organ in your body and it is constantly protecting you. 

You may first counteract this argument (before even reading what I have to say) by saying one or more of the following:

1. “tanning beds are okay, they don’t have they harmful UVA rays”
2. “tanning helps clear my skin of acne” 
3. “Tanning’s a way for me to relax”
4. “Tanning helps me get some good Vitamin D in!”
5. “it’s called a healthy glow, get over it”
6. “I’m going to age anyway, why does it matter? I look good now.”
7. “People say everything causes cancer, I’ll take this risk”

Let me clear this up for you, while their are a few of you who are educated in this topic and know exactly the processes of how the sun affects your melanocytes and your DNA, and how Vitamin D is synthesized in your body, I want to help you understand for real what is and isn't real. Don't believe every person who tells you something, (but believe me). I don't want to tell anyone what to do, but I do want to inform you about what's really going on.

1. “tanning beds are okay, they don’t have the harmful UVA rays”

The sun, and tanning bed light bulbs, expel ultraviolet light. UVA and UVB light are both harmful. (it used to be thought that UVB was harmful and UVA was okay, not true anymore)  UVA rays can account for up to 95% of all rays emitted by the sun, they penetrate the skin deeper than UVB and cause aging, they also damage skin cells and cause cancer. UVB rays damage the layers more towards the top of your skin and cause aging and cancer as well. UVB rays are what cause your skin cells to make melanin.

So in the tanning bed, the lights still emit low levels of UVB, just like the sun, and high levels of UVA, just like the sun. So yes, tanning beds are still harmful. 

2. “tanning helps clear my skin of acne”

There have been correlations that tanning can help clear acne by “drying” the skin. There is no scientific evidence though. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology says that tanning darkens the skin, covering the redness of acne for a brief period of time, it doesn’t heal it.  John Hopkins researchers even correlate increased acne to the use of tanning beds because beds are not properly cleaned even if you “spray them down” and they are homes to thousands of peoples’ bacteria.

Try other methods of clearing your skin, like eating more fruits and vegetables. Washing your face every night (AND moisturizing) and taking off your makeup. I have a prescription for Retin-A Micro that works like a charm. Visit a dermatologist, they will hook you up to help you clear your skin because each person’s situation is different.

3. “Tanning’s a way for me to relax”

Although tanning can be relaxing, if you ponder all of the harmful rays you are taking in, maybe you will get nightmares.

If that won’t work, watch this 2 minute video clip from the movie Final Destination (this could happen to you) and think about their experience as you are “relaxing” against those blue lamps. (*note: the video I think shows boobies, you were warned)

Looking for new ways to relax? Take up yoga, read a book, sit in a sauna and sweat, turn the thermostat up in your house and lay on a towel with sunglasses, go on a bike ride, go run, or climb into a warm bath.

4. “Tanning helps me get some good Vitamin D in!”

This was put out by the tanning industry to get people to think tanning was “healthy”.
In real life the RDA recommends 10 MINUTES of sun exposure THREE TIMES A WEEK. This includes walking outside and having a portion of your wrist exposed. Don’t get me wrong, vitamin D is SUPER important, and I’ll admit that the sun, and tanning bed lamps, will allow your body to synthesize vitamin D.

But so will walking around outside, and it will cause less damage. Research concludes that one tanning session greatly exceeds your recommended amount of vitamin D production. So if you stop tanning and suddenly become Vitamin D deficient, which probably won’t happen, you can even take a pill for it.

5. “it’s called a healthy glow, get over it”

Tanning is a symbol of damage to your skin. Melanocytes in your skin make the dark colored pigments to protect your DNA in response to the sun. If you are adament about the healthy glow you could always take your tanning money budget and buy some GOOD self-tanner.

I get it, the cheap self tanner makes your skin orange, streaks, or it smells awful. So buy some expensive kind that will work nice and cost less than tanning minutes. These are my favorites:

These Alpha-Beta glow pads have Vitamin D inside them, no grease, no stinks, and no streaks. I’ve actually never used these, but Allure magazine picks them as number 1.

I’ve had sample bottles of this stuff and it works great! No streaks or stench at all! Lancome Flash Bronzer, retails for about $40.

If you wanted a cheaper version of self tanning lotion, you can use L’oreal Sublime Bronze gel about $11. I’ve used this, there’s a slight smell, but if you mix it 3/4 gel and ¼ regular lotion before putting it on, there are no streaks what-so-ever. There’s even a video by L'oreal that explains the best way to put this kind on .

You could also opt for the clear fair skin look like celebrities did at this year's Oscars. (not pasty, trust me)

6. “I’m going to age anyway, why does it matter? I look good now.”

Our skin right now is young and tight, and as older adults will tell you, that this changes quickly. What keeps it tight (the no jiggling when you wave hello and goodbye, and the no sagging of the neck) is a magic protein called collagen. The UV rays from the sun penetrate the collagen (and elastin) and break it down causing wrinkles. Unfortunately, collagen is one of those proteins that can’t be rebuilt once it’s broken. 80% of skin aging is due to the sun.

This may not be a big deal right now to you, but wrinkles or “lines” used to begin appearing in your 30s or 40s, now you can begin seeing them in your 20s, so it will be a big deal soon. I know we all dream we will grow up and have lots and lots of money and be able to come visit Dr. Allie and she will blast away our wrinkles, cut off our cancerous moles, and fix our sunspots, but in all reality, how many people do you know that take time to get all of those things taken care of, or budget those many procedures into their lives. 

Look at this many who drove a truck and only exposed one side of his face to the sun.

Since sun damage is the number one cause of wrinkles, just try to put some sunscreen on everyday if you'd like to not age as fast. If you are concerned with your looks now, it's probably safe to assume you will want to look your best in the future. I have it in my foundation so I never forget. I put sunscreen on my neck and my hands too. There’s an old saying that a woman’s age is revealed by her hands.  

7. “People say everything causes cancer, I’ll take this risk”

Yeah, I hear ya, I watch Dr. Oz and I realize it’s hard to avoid accidentally burning your toast and increasing your chance at getting cancer. But this isn’t like baloney or hot dogs where it “might” cause cancer. It is proven to increase your risk of cancer. And staying away from tanning beds will prevent it. 

Every hour someone dies from melanoma (according to the Mela-no-more research foundation), there are more new cases of melanoma than HIV/AIDS.

One blistering sunburn will more than double a person’s chance of developing melanoma.

Using a tanning bed before the age of 30 increases a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 75%. If you are in your teens and early 20s it can make you EIGHT times as likely to develop melanoma. (statistics from American cancer society)

WHO Agency classfied tanning as the highest carcinogen to humans. So check out your moles and your skin and be aware of abnormalities. The ABCDEs of examining yourself can be found here . Check it out.

Bless you all, and I hope you take time to consider your skin care habits!

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