Sunburn is the darkening of the skin by increasing the production of melanin pigment under the influence of natural or artificial ultraviolet rays. Melanin itself is synthesized exclusively in the human body and cannot be replenished with food or any additives. In various forms it is contained not only in the skin, but also in other organs. Melanin, in addition to all other functions, protects the skin’s deep layers from UV radiation damage, while accumulating on the surface and giving it a darker shade. The benefits and harms of tanning are individual for each person and are determined by the characteristics of their body. But there are also some common consequences of ultraviolet irradiation that need to be known and considered.
Useful tanning actions
Sunburn can be obtained naturally in the sun or under artificial light in a tanning bed. The first option gives the greatest benefit, because sunlight has a beneficial effect on the body as a whole. Sunburn itself is a protective reaction to the effects of ultraviolet radiation and indicates its good tolerability by the body.
The right tanning process has a number of positive effects:
- activates blood circulation and metabolic processes;
- improves the functioning of the endocrine and respiratory systems;
- promotes the production of vitamin D and other biologically valuable substances;
- increases immune protection;
- increases enzymatic activity;
- prevents bone diseases and accelerates their treatment;
- helps eliminate dermatological diseases.
Reasonable stay in the sun has a positive effect on the emotional state and improves mood.
However, the benefits of tanning can only be observed if it occurs gradually as a result of periodic moderate exposure. This effect leads to a slight thickening of the surface layer of the skin, due to which melanin more actively absorbs the rays. But with prolonged intensive exposure, this protection is not enough, the ultraviolet penetrates into the deep layers of the dermis and causes cell death. The result is at least a sunburn or heatstroke. There may also be more severe abnormalities in the body.
The harmful effects of tanning
Excessively frequent and prolonged exposure to the scorching sun can lead to negative results such as
- development of oncological diseases (primarily skin diseases);
- to increase the likelihood of allergic reactions;
- exacerbation of chronic illnesses;
- Accelerated photo-aging of the skin, loss of elasticity and coarseness due to the appearance of an excessive stratum corneum;
- impaired lipid and water balance of the epidermis;
- worsening of eye health with the development of conjunctivitis, photoceratitis, cataracts, oncology;
- Reduced immune protection that increases the risk of infectious diseases and malignant neoplasms.
Excessive sunbathing is most dangerous because all of the consequences are cumulative in nature, which significantly increases the likelihood of the above consequences. The heaviest of these can be melanoma, a malignant tumor that develops from the pigmented cells of melanin and is often fatal.
It is especially dangerous to be under direct sunlight for children under 3 years of age, whose skin synthesizes a small amount of melanin, not allowing you to create the necessary protective and horny layer. As a result, burns occur, which in an immature body can cause rapid development of skin cancer.
Equally harmful is prolonged exposure to the scorching sun for pregnant women. Overheating leads to an increase in the temperature of the internal organs, including the fetus. The result of prolonged hyperthermia may be brain damage to a future child. In addition, ultraviolet light reduces the level of folic acid, without which its proper development is impossible.
Features of sunbathing in a tanning bed
Ultraviolet irradiation in the tanning bed has the main advantage – it can be adjusted to the skin type and other features of the body. Other benefits of artificial tanning include
- to get the shade you want quickly;
- availability at any time of year;
- the impossibility of getting burned.
All other useful and harmful effects are similar to those of sunbathing. The main requirement for this is the use of quality instruments and the correct dosage of radiation.
Another danger of the tanning salon should be taken into account – it can cause real psychological dependence. And too frequent visits lead to the development of all the negative consequences, similar to the constant exposure to the scorching rays of the sun.
How to sunbathe without harm
In order to prevent sunbathing from causing harm, it is necessary to refuse them in the presence of such contraindications:
- of thyroid pathology;
- Tuberculosis in the active stage;
- hepatitis during a relapse;
- under the age of three;
- antibiotics or sulfonamides.
Sunburn should be treated with care if there are many moles, especially the convex shape, as well as light skin that does not have the necessary protection.
In all other cases it is recommended to sunbathe gradually and best in the shade. Reflected sunbeams will provide a smooth and safe tan, but the number of sunbeams must also be controlled, as they can also be burned under a canopy.
The best time to sunbathe is late in the morning and early in the evening. That’s two periods of time:
It is strictly impossible to be under the scorching sun from 11:00 to 14:00, because UV light is the most active in this period.
But even when sunbathing in a safe time or in a sunbed with adjustable radiation levels, several important rules must be observed:
- Do not wash beforehand with soap so as not to remove the fat layer from your skin, which provides additional protection against burns;
- Do not use alcoholic substances and essential oils, otherwise the tanning will not be evenly distributed;
- Apply the correct SPF sunscreen to the whole body 20 minutes before the procedure;
- use sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat or a special hat for a solarium.
It is always necessary to remember that excess of ultraviolet light, as well as chronic solar starvation negatively affects the physical and psychological condition of a person. The sun’s rays are vital to the body, but everything is always good.