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You Can’t Get Your Beauty Sleeping in a Tanning Bed

 

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Ladies. I came across this article in Women’s Health and even though I knew I wouldn’t ever tan in a bed again, this article just reconfirmed it. I know its probably boring and you’ll want to just quit reading this altogether – but this information could save you from cancer.

 

Timeline of a Tan

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Within Seconds: Your body is bombarded with hefty doses of ultraviolet  A (UVA) light – roughly 12 times the amount you’d get from the sun.

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Within a few Minutes: Those long-wave UVA rays begin to penetrate your skin. Over time, they break down the collagen and elastin in the upper layers, causing permanent damage. The potential result? Wrinkles, saggy skin, and sun spots as early as your 20s.

The UVA light can penetrate to the deepest levels of your skin and start damaging the cells that make up your DNA. Within seconds, your immune system senses there has been an attack and sends a signal to a gene called POMC to start pumping melanocytes to your skin’s surface – 1,000 to 2,000 to each square millimeter of skin.

Think of melanocytes as little brown umbrellas that help protect your DNA from any additional damage. Because those melanocytes are brown, your skin starts to tan.

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In other words: A tan is a sign that your DNA is damaged. Your tan is like a full-body scab.

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At the same time: The POMC gene prompts endorphins to start pumping through your body – so about 5 minutes into your indoor tanning session you start to feel great. Like, runner’s-high great.

Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays have likely fried the upper layers of your skin. This causes redness, burning, and maybe even stinging.

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 Within hours and the days following: Your cells start turning over and replicating, and the new ones take over for the old damaged cells in your DNA. But when those cells replicate, little mistakes happen.

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Those mistakes lead to cell mutations. When mutations happen in the squamous cells, it can lead to squamous cell carcinoma; if they’re in the basal cells, your could be in for a basal cell carcinoma diagnosis. And if the mutations happen in the melanocytes? Melanoma.

 

Scary shit, right?! Obviously this can happen in the sun as well, the tanning bed just amplifies the time.

With all that said, I’m not perfect and yes I’ve been sunburnt before. I even got burnt this past Saturday – which I am kicking myself for. I’ve already had a mole removed – and that MOFO hurt. I asked my dermatologist if I could see the skin she cut out and to say I was surprised was an understatement. It felt like she cut my skin off with a cookie cutter, even though I was numbed. She went very deep to make sure she got everything, because skin cancer is not just a straight line – when it forms, its in waves.

I’ve also had a sun spot on my face zapped to make it lighten so that eventually it would go away. That felt like electricity on my face. Not only did it scare the hell out of me, I jumped in the chair and yelled, scaring the girl doing it!

With all that said, PLEASE protect your skin. Use sunscreen and reapply. Don’t tan in tanning beds. Spray tan or get tanning lotion. There are a million and five alternatives to using a tanning bed.

I can personally recommend this stuff. It. Is. Awesome. It has NO smell and doesn’t get on your clothing or sheets and dries very quickly. They have a spray, lotion and foam. I’ve seen it at Bed Bath & Beyond, but you can also buy it on Amazon.

I am fair skinned – green eyes and blonde hair. I’ve used the “Dark” (the orange stripe towards the bottom of the bottle) before with a somewhat tan, and it was not orange or too dark.

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SUN Laboratories Ultra Dark Self Tanning Micro Spray

I have also used this lotion. They also make a Medium spray, lotion and foam.

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