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 Post subject: Can You Buy a Safe Tan?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 14, 2006 11:30 am
Posts: 10334
Location: Kuala Lumpur

Q: Can You Buy a Safe Tan?
I know that a suntan is bad for the skin, but pasty white arms and legs look unhealthy and unattractive when you're wearing shorts or a bathing suit. Are tanning salons as bad as lying on the beach? What about self-tanning creams or tanning pills?

 Post subject: Can You Buy a Safe Tan?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 14, 2006 9:09 am
Posts: 8066
Location: Kuala Lumpur
A: I wish I could tell you to go ahead and get a nice golden glow for summer safely, but I can only remind you that there is no such thing as a safe tan. Tanning salons are certainly not the answer. The UVA rays you would get are not, as advertised, safer than the UVB from the sun -- they're just as effective at causing sunburn, skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.

Tanning pills are banned in the United States. They contain the color additive canthaxanthin which gives skin an orange to brownish color but can lead to formation of yellow deposits in the eye, a condition called "canthaxanthin retinopathy." They have also been associated with hepatitis and outbreaks of hives.

I also urge you to avoid tanning accelerators, lotions and pills containing, among other substances, the amino acid tyrosine. Manufacturers claim that they accelerate tanning by stimulating and increasing pigment formation in the skin, but there's no scientific evidence that they work. The FDA considers them unapproved drugs.

Be careful about bronzers, too. They temporarily tint the skin but wash off easily. While generally considered harmless, bronzers offer no protection against the sun. If you use them, don't forget your sunscreen.

Self-tanning lotions won't hurt you, (as long as you remember your sun screen), but they don't always look natural. They contain a colorless sugar, dihydroxyacetone, which interacts with amino acids on the skin's surface to produce a temporary tanned appearance. If you don't reapply periodically, your "tan"? will disappear within a few days. The trick to getting a natural looking tan with these products is in careful application. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying - otherwise, you'll have curiously tan palms for a few days.

If you must have a tan, the self-tanning lotions are your safest bet. But for the health of your skin, the best investment you can make is in a summer's supply of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 5:12 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:59 pm
Posts: 511
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