Busting The Base Tan Myth

Are you planning a vacation someplace warm and sunny? Looking to spend time on the beach this summer? Are you wondering whether you need a base tan to get the most out of your tropical getaway?

Are you planning a vacation someplace warm and sunny? Looking to spend time on the beach this summer? Are you wondering whether you need a base tan to get the most out of your tropical getaway?

It’s a common belief that tanning in layers, starting with a base tan, helps prevent sunburn. Don’t buy into this myth! Even worse than not being necessary, base tans are actually dangerous to your skin and your long-term health.

Keep reading to learn the truth about base tanning and other summertime tanning misconceptions.

The Base Tan Myth

I don’t know how it got started, but the idea of tanning in layers has been around for years. It’s thought that a light base tan acts as a protective layer against future sunburn.

Nothing could be further from the truth. A base tan provides protection of SPF 3 or less. That’s nothing! Better, more powerful protection is needed to keep yourself safe from the sun. And you can’t get it from a base tan.

The Mayo Clinic says simply, “A base tan is no substitute for good sun protection.”

The Skin Cancer Foundation has advice for anyone wondering about tanning in layers, or getting a base tan, “The short answer is do not get in a tanning bed! To get a tan you need to damage your skin. The skin darkens in order to prevent more damage, but your risk of skin cancer is already increased.”

If you’re still considering a tanning bed, keep this in mind: using one before you’re 30 increases your risk of melanoma by 75%. Using them regularly triples the chances you’ll develop skin cancer at some point in your life.

A False Sense of Security

The belief that a base tan acts as protection against more serious sunburn is the most dangerous bit of misinformation out there. You don’t want to become one of the nearly 4 million Americans who are diagnosed with skin cancer annually.

Tim Turnham, Ph.D., executive director of the Melanoma Research Foundation, explains that a person with a base tan, “thinks they aren’t at risk for burns and they spend their time in the sun unprotected. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

More Tanning Myths

The idea of a base tan and that tanning in layers can actually protect you aren’t the only harmful tanning myths going around. There’s plenty of misinformation out there. Let’s pull back the curtain on some of the dangerous and false theories about tanning and the sun.

    • Tan skin is healthy. False! Exposure to UV radiation, whether it’s from a tanning bed or the sun itself, is damaging your skin. The more times you expose your skin to UV radiation, even just a little bit, you’re repeatedly damaging your skin and increasing your risk of skin cancer.
    • Tanning outdoors is more dangerous than a tanning bed. Both are dangerous. The artificial “sunlight” created by a tanning bed typically uses UV rays that are stronger than those from the sun. Related SUMMERSKIN Article: Tanning Beds vs. Sun: Are Tanning Beds Bad For You?
    • The sun can’t hurt you when it’s cloudy. False! Just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean you’re safe. Nearly 80% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate clouds and fog.
    • Vitamin D from the sun is best. False! As little as 5 minutes in the sun per day is needed to maximize Vitamin D production in your body. And research shows that the best source of Vitamin D comes from supplements and a healthy diet.
    • I spent so much time in the sun as a kid. It doesn’t matter what I do now. False! Almost 75% of your lifetime sun exposure takes place after the age of 18. Start protecting yourself right now!

Real Protection

While we have highlighted some of the risks associated with sun exposure, the sun provides us with many benefits as well! Here at SUMMERSKIN, we truly love the sun and spending time on the beach as much as anyone.

You can enjoy the sun safely with the right preparation and protection. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, wear a wide brim hat and always throw on those wraparound sunglasses.

Don’t forget our UPF 50+ SUMMERSKIN clothing. You’ll look great with one of our dresses over your swimsuit this summer season.

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