Science of Tanning

1221There are several ways you can get a natural tan. The most obvious is from the sun. Light from the sun reaches the earth in three different forms: visible light, infrared light, and ultraviolet light. The last type, ultraviolet light, is classified into three separate categories:
* UVA or black light, which causes tanning.
* UVB, which typically causes damage in the form of sunburn.
* UVC, which doesn’t affect us because it’s filtered out by the atmosphere before it can get to our skin.
The problems we associate with sun exposure, such as premature aging, skin cancer, sun spots, etc. are primarily caused by harmful UVB rays. Research suggests UVA might have a hand in these things as well. Most of the sun’s UV radiation at sea level is UVA rays.
UVA can be reflected, as well. Snow actually reflects roughly 90% of UV light, which is why you can get severe sun burns while skiing or snow boarding. Sand reflects up to 20% of UVB too, so at the beach, you’re getting more UV exposure than you would be getting if you were sitting in your backyard. Water also reflects UV light, although it doesn’t prevent it from penetrating the surface of the water. You can still get burned while swimming. Some surfaces can absorb these rays rather than reflect them. Certain types of glass do this, and our own melanin in our skin absorbs UV light to some degree.

Ultraviolet light in the sun stimulates the production of melanin. This pigment protects cells from damage by absorbing as much UV radiation as it can. Imagine you put a sponge on top of a piece of paper and slowly dropped beads of water onto it. The sponge would soak the water up before it can ruin the paper. That’s sort of what your melanin does to UV rays. It can become saturated, though. Eventually if you keep dropping water on it, the paper will be ruined.

It’s this protective melanin in your skin which gets darker and creates what we call a tan. Caucasians typically have the least amount of melanin in their skin on a day-to-day basis, but in many other races, there is a continuous melanin production, which causes the skin to remain pigmented and also offers more protection against UV rays.

It’s important to note that all UV rays are potentially dangerous. They can cause deep damage to your cells, which results in painful sunburn at best and fatal skin cancer at worst. It’s important to protect yourself from skin damage by wearing sunscreen when you’re outside. Avoiding direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself. This really ruins your chance at a tan, though.

There is one more way that you can get naturally darker skin, however. That’s through DHA.  DHA is an organic compound naturally found in your own body that creates a chemical reaction within the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin when applied directly to the exterior of your body. This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color.  It is similar to the maillard reaction which occurs in food. It’s a natural, temporary color that looks just like a tan that occurs from melanin. The active ingredient in airbrush tanning is DHA. The color produced in an airbrush tan typically lasts 7-10 days, but it is much safer than roasting yourself in the sun or using a tanning bed.

Healthy Tanning. Ban the bed!

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I had a friend who was committed to living a healthy lifestyle. She only ate organic vegan food, she worked out, she was sure to get a yearly check ups and did monthly self-breast exams, she tried to use holistic medicines when she was sick as much as possible, but then I found out that she was still using tanning beds! I couldn’t believe it. It turns out she had no idea how harmful they can be. She knew that laying in the sun could cause skin damage, including cancer, but she assumed that tanning beds were different, that they were safer…  the truth is, tanning beds use UV Rays, and those are what cause skin damage!

There are two types of UV rays – UVA and UVB. Most tanning beds emit mainly UVA rays, although some “high pressure” tanning beds emit a more concentrated mixture of the two. UV Radiation has harmful side effects such as  skin cancer, cataracts, premature skin aging, and suppression of the immune system. UVA rays in particular have been shown to increase the chance of getting melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer! As great as getting a perfect tan can be, it’s not worth dying for.

The FDA has banned the use of tanning booths by minors and strongly discourages people from using tanning beds for cosmetic purposes. There are too many risks involved. Besides skin cancer, you risk getting a sunburn and without using goggles, you put yourself at risk of getting a condition called arc eye, or snow blindness, which is basically like a sunburn on your eyes! Many tanning booths limit your exposure to 20 minutes, but 20 minutes can be enough time to cause damage, especially when you go often.

Why spend time and money for something so dangerous? There’s a safer alternative….

Spray Tanning!!!

Airbrush tanning doesn’t create color using a dye or stain, it uses a compound called Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which sounds like a crazy chemical name, but it’s actually an all-natural, organic, simple carbohydrate with formula C3H6O3. This skin browning effect is non-toxic and similar to the Maillard reaction. Different amino acids react to DHA in different ways, producing different tones of coloration from yellow to brown. The resulting pigments are similar in coloration to melanin, the natural substance which browns or “tans” from exposure to UV rays. But all of this takes place in the outermost layer of the skin, not deep in the lower layers like a sun tan. It’s a natural, organic reaction, not one caused by radiation. The result is a natural looking tan without the harmful side effects.

We no longer have to stand in a booth that sprays you and turn around hoping to get every inch of skin evenly either! Airbrush tans are applied by trained professionals using a special spraying device that will make sure there aren’t any missed spots or uneven tone. Airbrush tanning technicians can even apply the formula in such a way that you can add slimming contours and cover problem areas specifically.

When properly cared for, an airbrush tan can last up to 10 days. It’s a natural, organic, safe option for getting some color all year long. And best of all? It’s quick! Instead of lying around all day getting a tan, you can be in and out in 15 minutes with a full body tan, and technicians can even come to your home with a mobile station and do it for you there!

My friend is now a regular at Shine Salon where she can get a safe, beautiful tan without any risks of UV damage. Shine uses organic, vegan, cruelty-free formulas that you can feel good about and fit with your own healthy lifestyle.

What Creates A Tan?

tans

Ever wonder what makes your body tan?

There are a few different ways you can get a natural tan. The most obvious is, of course, from the sun! Light from the sun reaches earth in three forms: visible light, infrared, and ultraviolet light. The last type, ultraviolet light, is classified into three categories:
* UVA or black light, which causes tanning.
* UVB, which typically causes damage in the form of sunburn.
* UVC, which doesn’t affect us because it’s filtered out by the atmosphere before it can get to our skin.
The problems we associate with sun exposure, such as skin cancer, wrinkles, etc. are mostly caused by harmful UVB rays. Research suggests UVA might have an increasing hand in these things as well, however. Most of the sun’s UV radiation at sea level is of the UVA variety.
UVA can be reflected off of snow or water. Snow actually reflects roughly 90% of UV light, which is why you can get severe sun burns while skiing. Sand reflects up to 20% of UVB too, so at the beach, you’re getting more UV exposure than you would sitting in your backyard. It’s hitting you from above and below! There are certain surfaces that can absorb UV radiation rather than reflect it, such as certain types of glass.

Ultraviolet light in the sun stimulates the production of melanin in our skin. This pigment absorbs UV light, protecting cells from damage. Imagine you put a sponge on top of a piece of paper and slowly dropped beads of water onto it. The sponge would soak the water up before it can ruin the paper. That’s sort of what your melanin does to UV rays. Over time, this protective pigment makes your skin look darker, hence: a tan! Caucasians typically have the least amount of melanin in their skin on a day-to-day basis, but in many other races, there is a continuous melanin production, which causes the skin to remain pigmented and also offers more protection against UV rays on a daily basis.

It’s important to note that all UV rays are potentially dangerous. If you keep dropping water onto that sponge, eventually, it will soak through and damage the paper. That’s fine when we’re talking about metaphorical paper, but not so great when we’re talking about your skin! UV rays can cause deep damage to your cells, which results in painful sunburn at best and fatal skin cancer at worst. It’s important to protect yourself from skin damage by wearing sunscreen when you’re outside. Avoiding direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself. This really ruins your chance at a tan, though.

There’s one more way that you can get naturally darker skin, however. That’s through DHA.  DHA is a non-toxic, organic compound that creates a chemical reaction within the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin. This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color. It is similar to the maillard reaction which occurs in food. It’s a natural, temporary color that looks just like a tan that occurs from melanin. The active ingredient in airbrush tanning is DHA. The color produced in an airbrush tan typically lasts 7-10 days, but it is much safer than roasting yourself in the sun or using a tanning bed.

How Do We Tan?

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To understand how tanning works, you need to understand a little about the sun.

Light from the sun reaches earth in three forms: visible light, infrared, and ultraviolet light. The last type, ultraviolet light, is classified into three categories:
UVA (315 to 400 nm), also known as black light, which causes tanning.
UVB (280 to 315 nm), which typically causes damage in the form of sunburn.
UVC (100 to 280 nm), which is filtered out by the atmosphere and doesn’t reach us.
The problems we associate with sun exposure, such as skin cancer, wrinkles, etc. are mostly caused by UVB rays. Research suggests UVA might have an increasing hand in these things as well, however. Most of the sun’s UV radiation at sea level is of the UVA variety.
UVA isn’t just hitting you from above – it can be reflected! Snow reflects roughly 90% of UV light, which is why you can get severe sun burns while skiing and “snow blindness” is serious business! Sand reflects up to 20% of UVB, so at the beach, you’re getting more UV exposure than you would sitting in your backyard. But at the same time, certain surfaces, such as glass, can absorb UV radiation!

Ultraviolet light in the sun stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin in our skin. This pigment absorbs UV light, protecting cells from damage. Over time, this protective pigment makes your skin look darker, hence: a tan! Caucasians typically have the least amount of melanin in their skin on a day-to-day basis, but in many other races, there is a continuous melanin production, which causes the skin to remain pigmented and also offers more protection against UV rays on a daily basis.

Melanocytes produce two different types of pigments: eumelanin, which is more brown, and phaeomelanin, which is yellow and red. People with red hair usually produce more phaeomelanin and less eumelanin, which is why they typically don’t tan as well. In albinos, the chemical pathway that produces melanin is blocked because an enzyme called Tyrosinase is missing.

It’s important to note that all UV rays are potentially dangerous. They can cause deep damage to your cells, which at the least results in painful sunburn and at the most can cause fatal skin cancer. It’s important to protect yourself from skin damage by wearing sunscreen when you’re outside. Avoiding direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself. This really ruins your chance at a tan, though.

There’s one more way that you can get naturally darker skin, however. That’s through DHA.  DHA is a non-toxic, organic compound that creates a chemical reaction within the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin. This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color. It is similar to the maillard reaction which occurs in food. It’s a natural, temporary color that looks just like a tan that occurs from melanin. The active ingredient in airbrush tanning is DHA. The color produced in an airbrush tan typically lasts 7-10 days, but it is much safer than roasting yourself in the sun or using a tanning bed.