What is tanning by the way? By tanning we mean changing the skin color into a dark or bronze complexion. Tanning popularity started decades ago, the sun was the only source to attain a “sun kissed” skin tone. Nowadays, a good number of artificial or manmade means have come about. The production of suntan lotion, tanning spray and the like have emerge over the years, same with tanning salons and the use of tanning beds. While adult men and women fascination with tan color never seems ending, would it be ok for kids to tan?
Ways to Tan
- Sun Tanning – this is a natural way to get a tan. Frequent exposure to the sun rays increases melanin production giving that darker complexion. Since the sun is a natural source, kids’ exposure to this is beneficial, not only do they get natural tan but they also increase absorption of vitamin D in their bodies which gives a lot of benefits especially for the little ones.
- Spray Tanning- Spray tanning is an alternative to tanning in the sun or in a tanning bed. Many spray tan locations have recently added this service as spray tan training becomes more popular.
Just remember not to let your kinds overdo it. In many cases too much sun exposure can give sun burn which can be painful and irritating especially to young vulnerable skin. The use of proper sun screen – take note I said sun screen and not sun block, can help prevent sun burn.
- Tanning Products – this is the preferred practice to get that bronze skin. This method is safest compared to that of tanning beds and sun bathing. The proper use of tanning lotion or other tanning products are safe even for children – introducing them to such method can be a start of a good step towards healthful tanning for the rest of their lives.
- Tanning salons (tanning bed) – tanning bed is no different from lying under the sun only it is more damaging. Tanning bed lamps produce more powerful UVB and UVA rays in order to get deep tan faster. This is definitely not recommended for kids.
Why salon tanning is a NO NO for kids
Tanning salon or tanning beds is a big no for kids because of the more powerful UV rays use in tanning beds that are very dangerous to young skin. These rays are longer thus they penetrate the basal area of the skin causing deeper damage. Kids, especially teens sometimes feel that they are immortal, but they aren’t. They should be educated that malignant melanoma or skin cancer doesn’t only affect old people, for all they know it can be growing and spreading without them feeling sick, it can start as a skin patch they don’t even notice.
Research shows that if you start tanning through this method at age 15 and goes regularly until you are 25, it’s just a matter of time before you develop malignant melanoma. Other skin damage that can be caused by tanning beds are premature aging, suppression of immune system, cornea damage and even burns. You wouldn’t want these to happen to your kids, right?
There is a restriction for children and teenagers below 18 years old about smoking, sadly when it comes to tanning salons there are none and yet they pose the same disease – Cancer! Parents are responsible for their children and it is important to guide them in everything and every choice they make. Open communication with your kids especially with your teenagers about the reasons for wanting a tan and proper procedures for doing so will go a long way towards protecting their health.