March 8, 2019

Does a ‘base’ tan protect you from sunburn?

Do you like to get your skin beach-ready before vacation? If so, you’re not the only one. Many people like to hop in the tanning bed before they hit the beach or pool, hoping that a “base” tan can prevent a painful sunburn. Unfortunately, this ritual is like fighting fire with fire.

According to the UAMS Dermatology Department, the skin darkening you receive from a tanning bed only offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of 1-4. This SPF is hardly enough to protect you from the sun. Also, because tanners receive UVA rays in a tanning bed, a tan will not protect you from the UVB rays you receive from the sun that cause skin redness and DNA damage.

In addition to these facts, tanning to avoid sunburn is pointless considering you are damaging your skin whether you are in a tanning bed or soaking up the rays on the beach.

According to our dermatologists, darker skin is tangible evidence of skin damage, and this promotes premature skin aging and increases the risk of skin cancer. In fact, young people who use tanning beds have a 69% increased chance of getting early-onset basal cell carcinoma, a common skin cancer.

If you are looking for a safer alternative to getting a sun-kissed look, consider using a sunless tanning spray or lotion.