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Base Tans and the “Safe Tan” Myth

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Base Tans and the “Safe Tan” Myth

With the risks and warnings that have been discovered regarding tanning as a practice, several myths have also come into play as well. One of such myths is that getting a base tan is safe and that it will even protect your skin.  However, this could not be farther from the truth. Ultraviolet radiation, no matter where it is from, is dangerous and contributes to not only aging but skin cancer as well.

Melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers mostly result from exposure to sunlight. Even the “browning” aspect of a skin tan results from damaged DNA and other material present in the skin structure, heightening the risks of skin cancer.

Since the sun has clearly become associated with skin cancer, it is important to try your best to avoid sun tans and sunburns by doing any of the following during the summer:

  • Not indulging in either outdoor or indoor tanning
  • Remaining in the shade peak sunlight periods between 10 in the morning and 4 in the evening.
  • Staying clothed
  • Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses
  • Using the appropriate sunscreen (UVA/UVB) with at least an SPF of 15 for regular use and an SPF of 30 for outdoor use. Use water- resistant variants especially if headed to the beach or when swimming outdoors.
  • Applying at least 1 ounce of sunscreen to your whole body half an hour before going outdoors and as soon as you’ve finished swimming or sweating.

Under no circumstance should newborns be exposed to sunlight, and sunscreen should always be applied on children six-months and older before heading outdoors. Regular visits to the doctor and self-examination for any skin conditions should also be carried out frequently.

Dr. Amir Bajoghli

About Dr. Amir Bajoghli

Dr. Amir Bajoghli became Associate Clinical professor of Dermatology at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also holds academic appointments at Georgetown University Schools of Medicine and has been named top doctor by Washingtonian and Northern Virginia Magazine. He is currently practicing as a dermatologist and owner of Skin & Laser Surgery Center PC with offices in Tysons Corner, Woodbridge, and Stafford Virginia.

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