Thinking of getting tanned this summer to get rid of the all that paleness winter caused you? A word of caution though—tanning has a number of side effects, the majority of which are skin-related problems. Even though the sun’s rays gift us vitamin D, overexposure to the sun can be quite harmful, as the skin comes in direct contact with UV rays. And so, you may think artificial tanning is your best bet. But, did you know that artificial tanning involves the use of tanning beds and lamps, which can expose you to even more UV rays than the sun does? And that’s why, tanning, whether it’s natural or artificial, can cause quite a bit of harm to your skin. Read on to find out how.
Sunburn

Sunburn

This is one of the most prominent downsides of tanning. When your skin comes in contact with UV rays, the skin cells in the epidermis get damaged. Your immune system increases the blood flow to the affected areas as a response. This increased blood flow is what causes the skin to become red and swollen, thereby resulting in a burning sensation. This is called sunburn, also known as erythema—It eventually causes the skin to itch and even peel off.

Pigmentation

Pigmentation

When your skin is exposed to UV radiation, it produces melanin to shield itself from sun damage. The resulting chemical reaction causes pigmentation that darkens your skin and causes it to tan. Continuous exposure to the sun destroys your skin cells, and causes hyperpigmentation—a condition that usually presents itself in the form of dark spots on your body.

Premature ageing

Premature ageing

Unprotected exposure to UV rays result in the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres, which keep your skin healthy. When your skin’s collagen and elastin fibres break down, your skin starts losing its elasticity. This causes the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, loosened folds, and other signs of premature ageing, as there is a reduction in the production of essential protein in the skin.

Skin cancer

Skin cancer

UVA and UVB rays can cause skin diseases, such as skin cancer. When the skin experiences inflammation, free radicals begin to form, and multiply very quickly. They hinder the production of collagen, and alter your skin cells’ DNA, which causes abnormal, or even malignant skin growth.

Actinic or solar keratosis

Actinic or solar keratosis

This pre-malignant skin growth is a major concern, as it almost always results in cancer. Actinic keratosis is an early stage in the development of skin cancer, and is caused by long-term exposure to sunlight. It presents itself in the form of raised textures or scaly bumps that are quite rough, and occur in areas that have been tanned or sunburned.

Here are few hacks to protect your skin from tanning:

hacks to protect your skin from tanning

  1. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 every time you plan to go outdoors. We suggest going with the Lakmé Sun Expert UV Lotion SPF 50 PA+++. This shields your skin against 97% UVB rays that can cause sunburns while the PA+++ saves your skin from UVA rays.
  2. Avoid being under the sun between 10 am and 4 pm.
  3. Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts. You could also throw on a pair of sunglasses and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes and facial skin.